From the Margins : News from Somewhere
With a narrative tone set halfway between War of the Worlds and Ripping Yarns, Quiet Marauder's new 30 track LP, The Crack and What It Meant, is a masterwork of satire, DIY folk and melodic anti-pop, fused together by off-kilter genius. The album will be released by Cardiff label Bubblewrap on 26.04.2019.
The second single to herald the new record, What Happened To Science?, is out now (below). With lyrics that question social media and the mistrust of science, it may lack its predecessor's dog-bark (which conditions a memory of the song whenever there's a real world canine yap), but is otherwise equally beguiling. The album they both come from is a great, sprawling, whimsical world of its own that'll win both hearts and minds; post-modern high concept Bonzo Dog Doodah, if ever it existed.
QUIET MARAUDER I What Happened To Science?
May Gig of the Month : Alden, Patterson & Dashwood : Blue Sky Café [Bangor] : 03.05.2019This May is an absurd month to select a single live event from - rational advice would be to go to FOCUS Wales (16-18 May) and find one out of the 200 performances there. North Wales dates from Lleuwen, Gwilym Bowen Rhys (launching his new album, Arenig at Galeri, Caernarfon), Gwyneth Glyn and Tudur Owen also jostle for attention in the coming weeks - as detailed here.
Yet the first visit of Americana-influenced folk trio Alden, Dashwood & Patterson (3 May) to Bangor's Blue Sky Café is one of the most intriguing performances on offer, and worthy of being highlighted lest it be missed, despite the competition - find out why.
ALDEN, PATTERSON & DASHWOOD I Call Me Home
News : 9Bach : EP & Collaborative ShowBethesda's 9Bach have two contrasting projects to unveil in the next month.
The first is a new, stripped back EP, Noeth, which features acoustic versions of four songs taken from the band's last two albums, Tincian and Anian. There's already a video for one of the tracks, Llyn Du (see below), which confirms the radiance of Lisa Jên's vocals in the slightest of instrumental frames. Noeth is released on 26 April 2019.
Then, on a grander scale, in May the band have a collaborative performance with acclaimed genre-defying drummer Andy Gangadeen (Massive Attack and Jeff Beck) at Focus WALES (Thursday, May 16).The show promises to be a real event; 9Bach's unique post-folk makes them a compelling live act, and they have a record of awe-inspiring previous collaborations. Full details of the FOCUS Wales show are here - tickets can be found here.
9BACH I Llyn Du (Acoustic)
The first date of Liverpool singer-songwriter Nick Ellis' Speakers' Corner Tour was held in his home city at the Leggate Theatre last October. On that occasion Ellis held the audience spellbound with an hour long set built around his newest songs. The tour's finale, held a mile from its start, was an equal musical delight. Read the full review.
Bangor's bilingual-indie-marvels I Fight Lions released their third album, By Chance or Design, on April 5th. The band have recorded two impressive LPs and an EP in less than a year, the newest (this time using English lyrics) offering 'intelligent, complete music - made for festival stages'. There is a tour too - read more here.
I FIGHT LIONS I By Chance or Design[12.04.2019]
Help Musicians UK, the charity with a mission 'to create a world where musicians thrive', has opened the second round of its Do It Differently fund. Grants of up to £3,000 are available and can be dedicated to recording, releasing, touring or live development, with a further £2,000 for services around business development or artists' health and well being allocated to each successful applicant. Welsh bands are eligible - Georgia Ruth notably received funding in 2018 - applications should be made before the 20 May deadline using the form here.
Horizons, a collaboration between BBC Cymru Wales and Arts Council of Wales, has opened its application process for 2019 today. Twelve new bands, musicians or singer-songwriters will be selected for the set of career enhancing opportunities the scheme promises, joining past luminaries such as Adwaith, Himalayas, Kizzy Crawford, and Seazoo. Read more here.
From the Archive : Alex Dingley : Beat the BabbleThe startling video for Alex Dingley's Not Alone in the Dark appeared online a year ago, two months before Libertino Records released his Cate le Bon and Tim Presley produced third album, Beat the Babble, which had previously only been available on a US label, Birth Records.
Looking back, the review for the album composed when it came out was probably a touch overwritten (although I stand by the phrase 'the liminal magic of an Edwardian fairground at dusk'), but in simple terms the record is 'intensely personal, but ... essential'- and lives next to the turntable still. [More : Buy Beat the Babble I Alex Dingley Website]
ALEX DINGLEY I Not Alone in the Dark
The first installment of a series of interviews on language and place, this article starts in winter on a road of dark-windowed holiday homes and explores, through a conversation about language, the education and economic policy emphases Plaid Cymru Cllr. Aaron Wynne believes are needed to enable communities in North Wales to thrive. Full interview.
Oblong are Llanelli's convincing Welsh answer to The Replacements; with blank humour, screeching guitars and visceral rhythms they offer a near perfect industrial-town post punk hullabaloo, and their second album, hollalluog, is just as energised and immediate as their first.
News : Katey Brooks : RevoluteKatey Brooks is a singer-songwriter 'from the far side of extraordinary', who has been compared to Jeff Buckley and labelled 'not to be missed' by Time Out. She sings aching songs of love and loss, that can only have been written for catharsis.
Brooks' new album, Revolute, has had a long, difficult gestation, but is ready for release on May 31st. Despite the delays, two recent singles - In Your Arms and Never Gonna Let Her Go - suggest her spirit is undiminished. A tour of 'special venues' will follow later in the year. [More : Web I Facebook I SoundCloud]
KATEY BROOKS I Will She (Acoustic)
Born in Bangor, now living near Mold, and with a few years playing Manchester folk clubs to hone his art, Ben Robertson is a young guitarist and folksinger who, if the audience reaction to his recent live performance at Blue Sky Café is anything to go by, is headed somewhere remarkable - read more
Established as a live act across the UK and into Europe, Rhuddlan's The Goat Roper Rodeo Band have released a third album, Tall Grass, that showcases a new depth to their music and songwriting. A couple of guest musicians, including Joe Harvey-Whyte on pedal steel, also add a dash of instrumental diversity to the trio's sound. The resultant record is 'an uplifting and heartfelt trip through the dusty back roads of Americana' - read the review.
THE GOAT ROPER RODEO BAND I Unwrap my Bones
From punk roots in Cardiff, Gwenifer Raymond has followed a singular path to American Primitive guitar music. Now signed to a prestigious US label, and having released an energised, emotionally articulate debut album, she is one of this year's unmissable acts at FOCUS Wales - this interview explains her journey.
- Beth Celyn : Troi
Beth Celyn is a young singer-songwriter from Denbigh, who has recently returned to North Wales after three years in London. In that context her enchanting debut EP, Troi, sounds like a definitive statement of intent.
- Fiona & Gorwel Owen : Releasing Birds
These songs were written and recorded one each month through 2014, with slow metronomic discipline despite what life turned up in the year. The album in its entirety features a consummate mix of acoustic folk and electronic instrumentation, threaded through sinuously by Fiona's rich, warm vocals. Each song is a distinct delight.
- Goat Roper Rodeo Band Live : Blue Sky 2016
There is an irresistible sport, the luge, in the Winter Olympics where athletes slide down an iced toboggan track with unstoppable momentum on what looks like a spray painted silver service tray. Watching The Goat Roper Rodeo Band in full flight is something akin to that headlong rush. With the animated stage show, bodies and instruments jolting incurably with the music, it's probably just as dangerous in close proximity.
- Findlay Napier : Glasgow
Findlay Napier's brilliant second solo album, Glasgow, has eleven songs - five covers, three co-written with producer Boo Hewerdine, three solely self-written. Each track essentially takes the lyrical form of a vivid short story with a film-maker's eye for detail, focusing on his home town for subject matter.
- VRï : Tŷ Ein Tadau
VRï are a folk trio that formed in 2016, intent on combining "..the energy of a rowdy pub session with the style and finesse of the Viennese string quartet." With Tŷ Ein Tadau, their debut album, they have realised this singular aim emphatically.
- Blodau Gwylltion : Llifo Fel Oed
An exquisite, muted mix of folk and country influences, this debut album from duo Manon Steffan Ros and Elwyn Williams will be one of the first chiselled into 2018 end of year lists.
- Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion : Dal i 'Redig Dipyn Bach
Fourteen years after Dore, Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion have released a new album, Dal i 'Redig Dipyn Bach (Still ploughing on a little bit). From a band credited with putting fire into the 90's Welsh folk revival, the new album does their heritage full justice.
- Daoiri Farrell / Elidyr Glyn : Galeri : 15.05.18
Award winning Irish folk musician Daoirí Farrell and support, singer-songwriter Elidyr Glyn, offered remarkable performances at Caernarfon's Galeri
- 9Bach : Anian
'... challenging, experimental and a graceful triumph'.
- Bendith : Bendith
A collaborative project between Carwyn Ellis of Colorama and Snowdonia's Plu has produced a beautiful collection of songs.