From the Margins : April 2019 News Archive
Lleuwen Live DatesLleuwen Steffan's last album Gwn Glân Beibl Budr ('raw, rooted and radiant music') was one of the standout releases from 2018. She has a set of Welsh theatre concerts planned in May; the chance to see Gwn Glân Beibl Budr's dramatic songs reworked on stage with a full band should rate as unmissable - the dates are:
- Fri 3 May : Clwyd Theatr Cymru [Mold]
- Wed 8 May : Ffwrnes Theatre [Llanelli]
- Thu 9 May : Aberystwyth Arts Centre [Aberystwyth]
- Fri 10 May : Pontio [Bangor]
Keys : Black & WhiteRecorded at the Miner's Welfare Club in the Neath Valley, during a two-day session for a fifth album, Keys new single Black & White distills their love for raw-edged singer-songwriters and proto-punk into one heady shot.
Elemental and energised, the song is a groove built on a hard, percussive beat and a clipped, repeated riff that ends in a climatic squall of wah-wah; Funhouse-era Stooges meets Scout Niblett somewhere off the A465.Black & White is out on Libertino on 3rd May - wherever the new album it heralds is being kept, it is undoubtedly twisting manically to escape its restraints.
KEYS I Black & White[27.04.2019]
The last of Llio Rhydderch's five albums to get a digital re-release, Carn Ingli, is out today. To mark the launch, I spoke to Gorwel Owen about Llio's past work, and what makes the triple harp such a captivating and creative instrument in her hands. Read the interview.
Wide-ranging guitarist and composer Douglas MacGregor's current project is releasing a set of seven instrumentals that map out in music his delayed grief process from his mother's death when he was seven. The latest, third installment, Song for Lost Childhood, is especially poignant, recorded in a church a hundred yards from the primary school he was attending when she died. In a frank conversation, MacGregor explains how writing and recording the pieces has been an essential part of finally beginning to heal from the loss. Read the full interview.
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, intellectually 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?
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 a spare instrumental frame. 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.
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]
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.