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Browsing: Music

Wavy, candid, sleek. Bearcubs strikes an engulfing balance between indie-pop song structures and rippling, densely packed electronica. We spoke to him about his back catalogue, discovering singing and his new EP, Underwaterfall. I saw you back in 2015 at Bestival around the time you released single, Paper Walls. Since then you’ve released an EP, and now you’ve released another. Have you stopped to have a breather at any point? There was a period after Paper Walls where I was reflecting on how to go forward. But it wasn’t really a break. I was mainly writing and trying to get as many…

The XX – I See You I See You represents a courageous gamble from The XX to reverse from their self-imposed cul-de-sac of moody, barren atmospheric indie – a sound which, like antihistamines, should come with a drowsiness disclaimer. Make no mistake, that pensive breeze of soft-souled indie is still there, it’s just been stripped of its lethargies. The XX deserve genuine credit for parting with the sonic security of Coexist and XX to embrace an experimental palette of bubbling synths and quaking percussion. 8/10 – A unification of the diverse creativity within the band that, until I See You, remained dormant.…

With a sun-drenched soundscape, Idle Frets have truly conquered that glistening indie-pop ambiance which often eludes many upcoming bands. Armed with new single, Glow, the band are ready to rouse crowds on their Spring UK Tour. How did Idle Frets start? Ben: We have all been involved with music or enjoyed music from an early age. I got asked to get a band together for a function gig, and I managed to persuade my best mates to play in a crappy band with me and to this day I’m still doing my best to not let them leave the crappy band. What…

After the artificial ‘smokey bar’ effect had subsided, the dazzling elegance of Cabaret Pontio’s façade was there for all to see. A classy arrangement of seating crowded the stage, glimmered by a striking sheet of twinkling white lights. An apt aesthetic for the melodious character of the music to come. Firstly, huge praise for support act Plu (meaning ‘Feathers’ in Welsh). The Snowdonia trio captured the audience in a net of traditional Welsh folk and subtle pop structures to form a catchy, endearing hybrid. As a non-Welsh speaker, never was my attention swayed. Nor did I feel distanced from the…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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