- NEW GOAT ROPER VIDEO & DATES
North Wales' most whole-hearted and animated live band has taken a short pause in a hectic summer schedule to release a new 'on-the-road' video of their stage favourite, The Rhythm of Love (below). If the film is not enough (and it shouldn't be), you can experience The Goat Roper Rodeo Band's cosmic country blues in person at Lligwy Beach Cafe (Saturday, August 4th) and at Heaven's Gate Presents @81 Renshaw Street on Friday, August 10th. Around those dates the band are touring extensively, ricocheting across Britain during the festival season. To aid cultural decision making there's an ecstatic review of a past show here, and another one here.
- MARY MILLER I I Found Heaven
Mid afternoon, on a small stage above a town centre bar, Liverpool-based Mary Miller gave an enchanting performance for FOCUS Wales 2018. Her striking take on dream pop is showcased in a new single, I Found Heaven, released on 22nd June, to herald what should be a much anticipated EP later in the year - read more.
- NICK ELLIS I Heartbreak City
Liverpool's Nick Ellis' urban folk-hymns offer kitchen-sink-dramatic stories tightly bound by melodies that follow you round for days after one listen. To find out more start with Hearbreak City (below), then try a touch of Clock Watching before advancing to a copy of his superb second album, Adult Fiction, released last December - read more.
- GLASLYN I Out Of My Control
Cardiff based singer-songwriter Al Lewis' last collaborative release - the startlingly good Ghost, recorded with Alva Leigh - was articulate, aching Americana. From that reference point this new single, Out Of My Control, is an unexpected tangent and a spellbinding revelation.
Working with Kayla Painter as 'Glaslyn', Lewis has matched his blues-edged vocal to brilliant electronic pop and Painter's pure singing voice, creating an energised track that builds to a chorus with the musical feel of tumbling weightless in clouds. The song has been picked up by the Channel 4 series Humans - where its mix of the organic and the synthesised is a perfect fit. More music is promised as Glaslyn build their creative partnership, but this is a remarkable enough beginning. [ Links : Glaslyn Twitter ]
- IWAN HUWS I Pan Fydda Ni'n Symud
Four hugely successful albums with his band, Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, are both a solid foundation and a heritage to live up to for Iwan Huws. His first solo LP, Pan Fydda Ni'n Symud, is one of contrasting moods built around his distinct vocals and keyboard, and it is an unqualified, resonant success - read the full review and listen.
- TOBY HAY I The Longest Day
Undoubtedly his finest recording yet, guitarist Toby Hay's new release, The Longest Day, sparkles, shimmies and shimmers just like its lauded predecessor, The Gathering, but with an evident new jazz influence that allows even richer textures than before. A detailed review featuring binoculars and a hidden Simple Minds reference can be read here.
- BETH CELYN I Troi EP
Beth Celyn is a singer-songwriter from Denbigh, and Troi is her six track debut EP. From her live performances she is clearly influenced by folk and more contemporary indie music; for this first set of recordings understated arrangements frame her emotive vocals and beat into shape something quite unique. Troi serves as a captivating statement of musical intent. Read the review and listen.
- EVE GOODMAN I Low Sun EP
Low Sun is one of the most subtly alluring EPs that has crossed our desk since the site started; with a quiet soul-stirring depth to her music, Caernarfon singer-songwriter Eve Goodman has released a debut with four self-penned songs and a beautiful version of the Welsh folk song Dacw 'Nghariad - review.
- BENJAMIN MASON I Oi! Rapscallion!
Pembrokeshire based Ben Mason's head must teem with ideas, his new album - Oi! Rapscallion! - is as eclectic as it is delightful. The clear product of a restless and relentless musical imagination, the recordings range and experiment across genres, from acoustic folk through post-rock to electronica - read more & listen.
- PREVIEW : LLANGOLLEN FRINGE : JOSH DOUGHTY & TIM TYSON : 21.07.2018
This year's Llangollen Fringe will see Welsh kora player Josh Doughty and guitar cohort Tim Tyson bring a blend of West African sounds and Western influence to the reverential venue of St Collen's Church. Josh's music is award winning and distinct - the concert offers a chance to hear his mesmerising instrumental abilities in a resonant setting. Details & interview.
- RED OR DEAD I Live at The Shiloh I 09.06.2018
Formed at a spontaneous busk outside a UKIP conference, Red or Dead's raucous folk punk with a clear political message works best on a live stage - where their energised songs of protest and hope can't help but hit home. Two years on from their unplanned, inaugural gig (which made the six o'clock BBC News), they are a fearsome live act - recently confirmed by a set at The Shiloh, Cwm Penmachno - read the review.
- REVIEW : CRAFT OF COMEDY FRINGE
The first year of a new comedy festival can be fraught, as attracting the right acts is difficult without some sort of compelling hook. Llandudno's Craft of Comedy is an established industry event - and adding a 'fringe' to it meant there was already access to top class comedians. The result was a brilliant set of gigs - this review covers the Saturday, with Marcus Brigstocke, Al Murray and rising Welsh star Kiri Pritchard-Mclean taking the Tabernacl stage.
- LIVE COMEDY REVIEW : JONNY WILLIAMS
In front of a full house (or in this specific case, Wrexham's only tepee) at FOCUS Wales 2018 Jonny Williams took comedic flight. The Guardian's Owen Jones has previously noted the Bangor comedian is, ''A very funny man… my new life aim is to let the world know it.'' and this set confirmed the observation and the validity of the mission. If that is not enough, Williams was also at the event to scout for bands for his successful new music podcast - read more about both here.
Top of Page
Libertino Records has taken just twelve months to establish a reputation as Wales' most creative and exciting record label; if it disappeared tomorrow it would already warrant a place in Welsh cultural legend like Postcard has in that of 1980's Scotland. As albums start to follow the glorious set of singles issued so far (starting with the UK issue of Alex Dingley's lauded Beat the Babble), Los Blancos and Accü are two names on its roster that will soon be reverberating far beyond its West Wales base.
- LOS BLANCOS I Cadi
West Wales' lo fi slacker-rock band Los Blancos have been featured and raved about here before, and with good reason. Their distressed and abrasive sound draws valid comparison with The Dream Syndicate and The Replacements, and a new AA single (including the ebullient Cadi, below) confirms their status as raw, magnificent and inevitably destined for greatness when (or before) their debut LP is released.
A studio flood recently forced the band to re-record their album during one adrenaline filled session with producer Kris Jenkins (who has worked with Super Furry Animals, Gruff Rhys, Cate Le Bon, H Hawkline & Gulp). For many that time constraint would be a handicap - for Los Blancos it just means the rough edged emotion of their music is captured exactly as it should be, and the magic of that is fully declared by Cadi and its companion track, Clarach. [ Links : SoundCloud I Twitter ]
- ACCU I Did You Count Your Eyes?
Accü is the new recording name (she was previously found in Welsh folk/electronica duo Trwbador) of half Dutch / half Welsh singer-songwriter Angharad Van Rijswijk. Did You Count Your Eyes? is the first single from her debut album, Echo The Red, due for release later in the year.
The song is thrilling - Accü's otherworldly vocal incants over darkly psychedelic synth sounds, driven and enlivened by Andy Fung's gyrating drum rhythms. Did You Count Your Eyes? has real electronic and percussive vitality; an undeniably unique and promising release. [ Links : Facebook I Twitter ]
Aled Rheon's recorded output is limited to two EPs - Sêr yn Disgyn (2013) and A Gorgeous Charge (2016). Although not prolific, there is exceptional quality in the recordings. The first EP showcased 'quietly and softly exhilarating' Welsh folk, a set of songs that beguiled their way round any potential language barrier for non-Welsh speakers, whilst the second had the balance of its lyrics sung in English, and included, as first among equals, our 2016 'Song of the Year' Wrap up Warm (above). As we edge towards two years since A Gorgeous Charge you'd hope for a third release soon; until then his existing EPs are essential listening. [ Links : Website I Live Dates ]