Archive

Monthly Archives: February 2015

London’s premier gypsy swing group pull out all the stops for another blistering set

 

 

While this might not appeal to everyone, watching a band sound check yield secrets to the inner workings of the band. On Thursday evening I went to Old Mary’s and watched Swingatto. Our party arrived early and after a drink in the Mitre, we went down to get a good spot for the band. As we arrived they were running through the sound check. Guitarist Antonio Feula was giving his fingers a work out. What was striking about this warm up was first the speed that he played. I haven’t seen fingers that fast since the last metal night I went to. The second striking thing was how he looped everything he played to create a complete song. Live looping isn’t anything new to me, but it was the deftness of his playing that really stuck a chord. A few chord runs here, a little solo there, knocking the guitar for a beat and you have great track that Feula then played over to get ready for the set.

 

 

At 8, after the sound check was over, Feula accompanied by Matt Dibble on clarinet and Miko Ambrogini on double bass got going. The set consisted of covers, and original compositions. At times it was hard to tell what was original and reimagined covers. Having seen Swingatto before what impressed me this time was how the songs slowed more smoothly. The last time we’d seen them they were great, but in those intervening months a change had occurred. They seemed more at ease and were really enjoying playing those songs. The other change was the crowd. Last time there were only 8 of us, this time Old Mary’s was packed, and they had come to see Swingatto. After each song thunderous applause erupted.

 

 

I’m looking forward to when Swingatto will return to Old Mary’s, as it feels like their spiritual home, and they complement each other perfectly. As Old Mary’s is a low lit basement bar, the acoustic sounds of Feula, Dibble and Ambrogini’s gypsy swing go hand in hand with its ambience. Whether you looking for a hearty drink and some uplifting music, a quiet supper with some engaging music, or you just want to leave the house on the Thursday, this band and venue will be able to accommodate you perfectly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

Advertisements

Manchester quintet release uplifting melancholic slab of pop perfection

 

 

Every week we are bombarded with adverts, blogs and recommendations about which new bands to get excited about, what established bands have just released their best album since that last great album and who on the live circuit deserves our hard earned money for an hour in their presence. Most of the time it’s just hyperbole.

 

 

On their recent single Blood Science, Manchester’s Affairs have taken a tired genre, electro indie pop plays and made it vibrant and exciting again. Blood Science sounds like a mixture of Alt-J and Wild Beasts covering Madonna’s Express Yourself in an ethereal synth drenched chill-pop style, it doesn’t just get stuck in your head, but it screams for repeat plays.

 

 

 

 

Blood Science’s lyrics are about two brothers. One is travelling life at break neck speeds and being successful, the other taking is savouring the present so much that he is being left behind. And who says pop songs are boring and formulaic?

 

 

Affairs are being championed by XFM’s John Kennedy and 6Music’s Tom Robinson for ones to watch in 2015. If this isn’t enough reason to get excited about this band then I don’t know what is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

The results are in! How did I do…

 

 

Best Male Solo Artist

 

Ed Sheeran

 

Damon Albarn

George Ezra

Paolo Nutini

Sam Smith

 

As I said Ed Sheeran won. 1 points

 

Best Female Solo Artist

 

Paloma Faith

 

Ella Hednerson

FKA twigs

Jessie Ware

Lily Allen

 

Another easy pick 2 for 2 so far.

 

 

British Group

 

Royal Blood

 

Alt-J

Clean Bandit

Coldplay

One Direction

 

3 outta 3 so far!

 

International Group

 

Foo Fighters

 

5 Second of Summer

Black Keys

First Aid Kit

The War on Drugs

 

4/4, I really should have gone to the bookies with these predictions!

 

British Breakthrough Act

 

Sam Smith

 

CHVRCHES

FKA twigs

George Rzra

Royal Blood

 

5/5, I’m really shocked!

 

 

British Album of the Year

 

Ed Sheeran-X

 

Alt-J-This is All Yours

George Ezra-Wanted on Voyage

Royal Blood-Royal Blood

Sam Smith-In the Lonely Hour

 

6/6

 

 

 

British Single of the Year

 

Mark RonsonUptown Funk

 

Calvin Harris-Summer

Clean Bandit–Rather Be

Ed Sheeran–Thinking Out Loud

Ella HendersonGhost

George EzraBudapest

Route 94My Love

Sam SmithStay with Me

SigmaNobody to Love

 

I went for Clean Bandit. I thought a major advertising campaign might have given them the award. 6/7

 

International Male Solo

 

Pharrell Williams

 

Beck

Hozier

Jack White

John Legend

 

Never bet against the Pharell-factor… 6/8

 

 

International Female Solo

 

Taylor Swift

 

Beyoncé

Lana Del Rey

Sia

St. Vincent

 

Shame St. Vincent didn’t pull this coup off, but another right result for me.

 

7/9

 

British Video

 

One DirectionYou & I

 

Calvin HarrisSummer

Ed SheeranThinking Out Loud

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno MarsUptown Funk

Sam SmithStay with Me

 

Who’d have thought that Ed Sheeran learning do dance wouldn’t be the best video out of this list? 7/10

 

So this year I 7 right. This either shows that I have a good handle on UK Music markets, or it means I spend too much time paying attention to music I don’t care about…

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

The 2015 Brit Awards are this evening, here are my predictions.

 

 

Best Male Solo Artist

 

Damon Albarn

Ed Sheeran

George Ezra

Paolo Nutini

Sam Smith

 

This is a two horse race. The winner will either be Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith. I’m going to stick my neck out and predict Ed Sheeran.

 

Best Female Solo Artist

 

Ella Hednerson

FKA twigs

Jessie Ware

Lily Allen

Paloma Faith

 

This award is a bit more open, however I’m going to the bookies for Paloma Faith!

 

 

British Group

 

Alt-J

Clean Bandit

Coldplay

One Direction

Royal Blood

 

While this will probably go to One Direction, I would like to see Royal Blood win. I don’t really like them, and I find their debut album boring, but it would be great to see a band win!

 

 

International Group

 

5 Second of Summer

Black Keys

First Aid Kit

Food Fighters

The War on Drugs

 

Foo Fighters…. Easy one.

 

 

British Breakthrough Act

 

CHVRCHES

FKA twigs

George Rzra

Royal Blood

Sam Smith

 

This should have Royal Blood written all over it, but sadly I think it’s Sam Smith’s, after his Grammy win.

 

 

British Album of the Year

 

Alt-J-This is All Yours

Ed Sheeran-X

George Ezra-Wanted on Voyage

Royal Blood-Royal Blood

Sam Smith-In the Lonely Hour

 

None of these albums deserves to win, as they weren’t the best album in the last year, but Ed Sheeran should walk this.

 

 

 

British Single of the Year

 

Calvin Harris-Summer

Clean Bandit–Rather Be

Ed Sheeran–Thinking Out Loud

Ella HendersonGhost

George EzraBudapest

Mark RonsonUptown Funk

Route 94My Love

Sam SmithStay with Me

SigmaNobody to Love

 

 

This is always the hardest award to pick, but I think Clean Bandit-Rather Be will take the gong tonight.

 

 

International Male Solo

 

Beck

Hozier

Jack White

John Legend

Pharrell Williams

 

Due to his recent Oscar’s win this week, my money is on John Legend!

 

 

International Female Solo

 

Beyoncé

Lana Del Rey

Sia

St. Vincent

Taylor Swift

 

I would love to see Annie “St. Vincent” Clark to win, but I think Taylor Swift has this in her vault already!

 

 

British Video

 

Calvin HarrisSummer

Ed SheeranThinking Out Loud

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno MarsUptown Funk

One DirectionYou & I

Sam SmithStay with Me

 

This should be Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ video, but Ed Sheeran might just take this on the night!

 

 

So these are my predictions, let’s see tomorrow how many I got right…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

 

Old Mary hosts London’s premier Gypsy Swing group this Thursday

 

 

This Thursday at Old Mary’s in Lancaster is one for your diary. London’s premier Gypsy Swing group, Swingatto are returning. Channelling the spirit of Django Reinhardt, Swingatto play with a passion and feel that is missing in other Gypsy Swing groups.

 

 

Old Mary’s is the perfect place for this kind of music. This basement cocktail bar is so intimate you can hear the groups discussing the next song in their breaks. And let’s not forget the cocktails. Old Mary’s has some of the best mixologists and bar staff in London. Their cocktail menu is as long as it is original, however if you know it, they’ll make it for you!

 

 

Last November I was lucky enough to witness Swingatto’s rousing set in this venue, and if this Thursday’s set is half as good, we’ll all be in for a good night! Music starts at 8, so I advise you to get down early otherwise you’ll getting in the way of the dancers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

Reimagined 80’s pop never sounded so vital

 

 

Tusk Vegas is a monster. It is three and a half minutes of exquisite indie pop. Sounding somewhere between the disco beats and spazzy angular guitars or Franz Ferdinand, the vocal delivery of Kasabian and retro vibe of Lobster Club, Movie can strut comfortable on any dance floor, and high-street for that, across the country.

 

 

 

 

What’s more the rest of the EP is just as infectious. In a Life brings to mind the Cure at their hauntingly poppy best. In Vain is another indie disco stomper. Misty Windowpane sounds like the Thompson Twin, but instead of synths and keyboards, they had more guitars.

 

 

The Tusk Vegas EP is released today and I can’t think of a better way to kick of a new week than buy this and playing it on loop, like a demented mantra until next Monday rears it’s ugly head! This is essential listening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic

 

 

 

The Everlasting is chocked full of more cultural references than Paul’s Boutique

 

 

Jamie S. Rich writes novels about life. While this might sound like a post-modern cliché it is very much true. His books characters aren’t two dimensional. They have intricate pasts, as we all do, and have a wide range of contrasting interests and influences, again as we all do. His first novel Cut My Hair was set in LA, his third novel the Everlasting, is set in Portland in 1999-2000. While this might seem like an obscure setting, it makes perfect sense. Firstly it is where Rich lives, and secondly Portland has a vibrant and exciting cultural scene. This is a rich tapestry to tell his tale.

 

 

The main protagonist of the Everlasting is Lance Scott. He is an early 20’s web designer who is obsessed with Paul Weller, and that’s putting it mildly. The plot revolves around his loves and heartaches. A subplot involves conversations with his Mother and Brothers Tristian and Percival. In Rich’s debut Tristian played a pivotal part, so it was good to see him again. What Rich has done in the Everlasting is create a literarily family in the vein of JD Salainger’s Glass family, which he mentions. It is revealed that Percival wrote a book called I Was Someone Dead, which was Rich’s second novel. How post-modern eh?

 

 

While didn’t find the plot of the Everlasting as enjoyable as Cut Your Hair. However I did enjoy its nonstop cultural references. Lance wasn’t likeable as Mason, he does feel more fully formed. Everything that befell Manson was brought on by events out of his control, while Lance’s problems were all self-inflicted. When he bemoaned them or moped about I found it hard to feel sympathy for him. What I did find more enjoyable was how Rich name dropped all the time. On certain pages it was just a list bands, songs, films and books, very similar to how Bret Easton Ellis namechecks in American Psycho and Glamorama. It felt like I was in the room, looking around and getting to know the characters. These references points helped me to firstly get to know the characters and secondly feel empathy for them, as shallow as that sounds.

 

 

This is a book that has been unfairly slept on since its original publication eight years ago. The characters feel more life-like than the majority I have read about since. The plot is one that we’ve either lived through ourselves or know someone who has. Rich’s writing is deep and meaningful and rammed full of prose. He writes about love and rejection. While some might not enjoy the emotional interplay he brings to his characters, I can’t get enough of it. It’s brave to read a male writing novels like this, and being unashamed to bare his heart and soul. If you have an interest in indie culture, or modern romance stories, this is for you. There are other instalments in the Scott saga. Tristian and Lance appear again Love the Way You Love and Percival’s story is concluded in Have You Seen the Horizon Lately. Both are well worth reading!

 

 

Below is a playlist of all the songs and bands mentioned in the Everlasting. I’m pretty sure I’m missing a lot, but these are the ones I picked up on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Everlasting Playlist

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/thisyearinmusicxx

 

 

@thisyearinmusic