Author: Finnian Shardlow

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Editor 2018-19 Deputy Editor 2017-18 Music Editor 2015-17

This Friday (January 27th) at Pontio, escape into an immersive canvas of hometown truths painted by the radiant folk harmonies of Fara. It’s a genre that must be seen live to appreciate the complex artistry behind Fara’s blissful mould of strings driven by pulsing piano. The Scottish group, who are touring for the first time since last September, will make their debut in Bangor. “We’ve not been to Bangor before, we’re really looking forward to it. Being from Orkney, we’re used to all kinds of different scenery and so we love seeing new places.” Said Kristan Harvey, one of four…

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15. Eagulls – Ullages 2016’s post-punk output left an abundance of fruits for my picking. I could’ve went with Preoccupations and Exploded View’s self-titled LPs, perhaps the acclaimed works of Savages’ Adore Life or The Drones’ Feelin Kinda Free. However, when Ullages peaks, it convulses with an overwhelmingly textured downpour of dense, muggy guitar bliss. Eagulls lift the heavyweight fog from their debut which, whilst aggressive, was instilled with a creeping menace. Ullages trades those vicious instrumentals for a more cynically sweet sonic experience, going a long way in accentuating the vocal performance of frontman, George Mitchell. Though, make no mistake.…

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Fickle Friends are gliding into 2017 off the back of a UK tour which saw them decorate a decuple of venues with a kaleidoscopic synth-bleached sunset. The Arts Club was just one of a lucky few to be inflamed by the five-piece’s arena sized anthems. A general swagger is the most intensely striking thing about Fickle Friends – they exude a defined, palpable class which, naturally, seeps into live performances. Make no mistake. These are big pop songs steeped in sophistication, fuelled by a concise songwriting instinct that blossoms with intricacy where it counts. Set list opener, Cry Baby, is a…

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Within the torrent of emergent indie rock in 2016, Alexis Kings are the band injecting a romantic, sun-soaked blues into the sound. Relive that Autumn melancholy through dainty, de-stressing guitar work and memorable, drifting melodies. I spoke to guitarist Sam Privett about the formation of the band, their comparisons to Kings Of Leon and their EP, Squire.  How did Alexis Kings start? It started with me and the lead singer Brendan at school together. One day, we realised that we both played guitar, he sang and he had a little song written down so we thought we’d play it. From there…

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GUM – Flash In The Pan Flash In The Pan is a boggy swamp of wobbly psychedelic electropop. Sounds disgusting, I know. These synths are unexplainable. They’re bulging, soggy and rich whilst maintaining an edge of transcendence. Australian multi-instrumentalist, Jay Watson, revels in his Tame Impala ties through a sugary re-imagination of the sonic attributes that acquired such vast acclaim for their 2015 LP, Currents. GUM displays a similar Impala-esque deployment of escalating melodies that burst into reverb-plunged chorus. However, the climactic build of some tracks are occasionally trounced well before reaching the apex of their impact. Rares, for example,…

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Nimmo (formerly Nimmo and the Gauntletts) are a London five-piece with a dynamic fusion of infectious, synthpsyched hooks and cathartic dance pop beats to free the soul. I spoke to singers, Sarah and Reva, about their long term friendship in music, Nimmo’s evolution and the message within their songs. I saw you for the first time in 2014 at Bestival when you were called ‘Nimmo and the Gauntletts’ – why the name change? It was too long. People weren’t remembering it. We set that name up when we were 16, so that’s 10 years ago. We were at secondary school…

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MØ showed little mercy in Mersey on her Liverpool debut. The Arts Club bathed in shimmering rays of pink and blue as onlookers entranced themselves in tribal dance triggered by the Great Dane’s pure, unrelenting ardour. Lauching a dynamic set list, a somewhat tempered rendition of Don’t Wanna Dance, trading the bubbly tempo of the recorded version for a softer, more seductive wave of synth. A paradoxical opener considering Ørsted’s well documented vitality on – and mostly off – the stage. It certainly worked though, a mounding sense of anticipation swelled the room. We knew the anarchic party was on…

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Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth Natalie Mering leaves the door to her soul wide open in a tentative chamber-pop record that’s decorated in a flourish of grand brass and antique folk intricacy. At points, Front Row Seat To Earth plunges into ambiguity through complex and, often obscured instrumentation, only to coil back in a gust of flowing ballad-like chorale. The latter stages of Do You Need My Love epitomise this. Chaotic phrases of tangled strings and haphazard piano build towards harmonies that border on angelic. Undoubtedly, what drives this album is an accomplished vocal performance. Mering balances dominance with…

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Be wistfully transported to Nordic landscapes through the immersive harmonies of I See Rivers – a Liverpool-based trio with their roots firmly planted in Norwegian folk. A trinity of elegant voices mesh together to produce a charming sound, peppered with infectious melodies. I spoke to one of those voices, Lill Scheie, about the origins of the band, their summer performances, the upcoming EP and their infatuation with Wales. So how did three Norwegians end up in Liverpool? First of all, we didn’t know each other before we moved here. We are all from such different parts of Norway that we never would have…

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Looking into the beams of sunlight piercing through the Far Out tent towards the frothy, cumbersome clouds nestling up against the picturesque Brecon Beacons. Kevin Morby remarked: “It’s like playing inside a womb!” A peculiar statement, but I couldn’t help but feel some of its sentiment was rather apt. The whole festival is rife with a sweeping brotherly comradery. A profound aura of acceptance that swallows festival veterans, families and millennial neo-hippies alike in the grandeur of the Welsh countryside. Dissimilar to the likes of Latitude Festival – where the family emphasis is glaring – Green Man falls just on…

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If you read that title and became instantly sceptical – well done. You’re a normal, functioning human being. How can anybody expect such surreal and unprompted acclaim? Even a stand-up comedian like Silky, a man whose comic aptitude borders on mythical. Don’t worry, the title is explained later in the article. An article that details the most amusingly absurd phone-call that I’ve ever been a part of. Technically, it was an interview. In reality, an erratic chat. It certainly quashed my preconceptions of comics. It turns out some of them are just genuinely funny all the time. But Silky, who…

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Night Owls are a Leeds duo drilling a distinctive edge into the stereotypical Grunge sound. A sound that, for me, has been begging for an alternative perspective to freshen up the entire genre. I think Night Owls offer that. It’s still abrasive, it’s still gritty, it still screams Grunge. It just feels more colourful, spirited, and, most importantly, ridiculously catchy. I spoke to drummer and singer Will about grunge, their upcoming EP and the personality within the band. How did the Night Owls duo come about? Basically, me and Liam have been in bands since we were about fourteen and people…

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Skepta – Konnichiwa Konnichiwa is a genuine hijack on our fixed musical perceptions. No longer is grime a peripheral bellow of urban discontentment. Grime represents an active resistance to convention, a yearning for realism and an organic social commentary of British struggle. Skepta is flying the flag for the every-man. Regardless of genre, Konnichiwa is what Britain needed: music at its most uncompromised. An album assembled from the fundamental mainstays of rap music. Authentic bars. Raw beats. Konnichiwa delivers on both fronts, especially beat wise. As always, Skepta affirms his position as one of the wittiest lyricists in grime, dishing…

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In a stellar collision of post-punk melancholy and scintillating synth-pop, Affairs offer a crisper, more introspective indie experience. Thoughtful, elaborate, but – make no mistake – resoundingly catchy. It’s a sound that ticks all the boxes. I spoke to the band’s guitarist Liam about constructing the sound of Affairs, their new EP, and the possibility of an album. How did Affairs all start? Affairs all started back in Hull on the East Coast of England. I already met up with a guitarist (Dan) before everything really kicked off. At first it was just me and him trying to do something a…

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It’s been a decade since The Enemy sprung into prominence with UK Number 1 record We’ll Live And Die In These Towns. Three albums, a handful of awards and a trip to Wembley – in support of Oasis – later, and the Coventry trio are ready to bow out. I talked to bassist Andy about the end of The Enemy, the radio industry and the future of bands. How difficult was the process of everyone knowing The Enemy was going to have to be brought to an end? Difficult, definitely. Not a nice conversation, but maybe a sensible conversation. We don’t…

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Familiar fragments of Busted, Fightstar, Union Sound Set and More Dangerous Animals unify to form a sound that is utterly unexpected. Once Upon a Dead Man’s debut EP, Concepts and Phenomena, sees the Simpson brothers – plus an old friend – venture into the dusky underpass of musical uncertainty, only to come out the other side gleaming in a blitz of silk-lined electro-pop. Concepts and Phenomena is instrumentally impressive. No doubt. However, striking more immediately, is a resounding sense of liberation. Each track pours with the kind of expression often found absent in conventional pop music. This isn’t just the…

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