Paragraphs-The Children Are Orphans Now

paragraphs

Ryan Potts AKA Paragraphs has self-released his latest album, The Children Are Orphans Now, which is a concept album about mental illness that really wears its heart on its sleeve.

The record sees Potts delve into a wide range of genres whilst still holding onto to its post rock sensibilities throughout, this can really be heard on the slow burning opening track, Love As You Are, that builds into a crescendo featuring guitars that swirl wonderfully around it. The Most Perfect Thing really nails the shoegazey feel and can’t help but pull at your heartstrings when accompanied by the murmured vocals.

There is quite often an industrial theme taken on through the album and you can see it develop more through its core, especially on tracks like Winter Destroy Me which despite having an obvious gloomy feel makes for a real stand out moment. Paragraphs really tackle a serious issue head on for the duration of this record as well as making sure they draw things to a close perfectly with the sublime Nothing Is Real which is full of reverb that leaves yours ears ringing long after its conclusion.

You can get the album here.

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68creep-Goodnight, Sweet Betty

68creep

New York’s 68creep are set to release their first proper album, Goodnight Sweet Betty, courtesy of the fledgling Kiss/Kill/Repeat Records. I had previously never come across 68creep before and I must be honest and say this record only caught my attention as I was clearing out my inbox and I’m more than happy I decided to investigate the album further.

From the delicious opening tones of Stone Cold Kiss, I could tell this was a band that I would instantly enjoy with brooding riffs that give off a grungey/garage feel with more than a nod back to the 90’s. Next up is the more understated Black Cat which flows along smoothly before slowly building into a rousing crescendo. Squeezed in-between a couple of covers is the sublimely swooning Birthday which has a sense of melancholy as well as showing an impressive range of tempo from 68creep.

Goodnight, Sweet Betty is a record that is tinged in nostalgia whilst also being dragged into the modern era by 68creep. If this is the band’s first full length effort it certainly leaves the listener wanting more and I can’t help but see big things in the future for them.

Brineboy

brineboy

Fledgling electronic duo Brineboy, hailing from Nashville, have added a couple more tracks to their collection since they last featured on this blog. The immensely talented HA Hill and Amy Wright have combined to produce yet another couple of barnstorming tunes. The first of which, Ideology is full of dark brooding tones like that of bands like Depeche Mode, however Brineboy put more than enough of their own stamp on it to make sure they don’t sound like any sort of imitation group. Please continues with the dark undertones whilst also having a beat that instantly gets you moving as well as adding to an impressive collection of songs which means I cannot wait for a full-length release from Brineboy.

You can get the tracks here.

CHUCK-Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store

CHUCK - Frankenstein Songs Artwork

Charles Griffin Gibson is a multi-talented artist whose latest album Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store (FSFTGS), is set to be the final release under the CHUCK moniker. The record has been released on the Audio Antihero label who seemingly effortlessly continue to provide with sublime material time after time.

Gibson’s irreverent take on pop music makes this wonderful lo-fi record absolutely fly be while also being tinged in dreamy tones in addition to an old school garage rock feel. After an instrumental opening track the catchy tones of New Yorker accompany CHUCK’s ability to poke fun at himself to make for a superb opening to the album. FSFTGS really is a terrifically crafted record full of insightful contradictions as well as slight intricacies that if you blink you’ll miss them, that really shine on the soft, swooning Cherry Tree.

A personal highlight on the album for me was the shoegazey Meow which has a faultless flow that manages to pack in an incredible to say the track come in at just under two minutes. CHUCK continues to drift through genres as can be heard on the almost balladesque Caroline before the melancholic and conflicting Happy Birthday shines as this thoughtful and evocative record starts to draw to a close and makes sure that CHUCK signs off an a high note.

You can get the album here.

Glastonbury Festival 2017-Sunday 25th June

glasto sign hill                              The view from the top of the hill.

After four excellent days at the festival the end was drawing near as we now entered the final day. I had another reasonably early start as I decided not to do too much of the late-night stuff this year as I wanted to be able to spend time with my family in the daytimes without feeling too rough. Although I love a lot of the afterhours action I’m going to another festival later in the year where I can party as much as I want to so I usually headed to bed around 1.30 this year which is earlier than usual however it was the right decision as the hangovers were far milder than previous festivals.

After another early start, I decided to go over to the Other Stage to check out Slaves via a quick stop for a bacon sandwich. I have to admit I didn’t know too much about the two piece from Kent but I had heard great things about their live shows. As soon as the opening riff hit I knew this was going to be something great, especially with the racket that was coming from just two people. My nephew was also loving despite showing some reluctance to go see them in the first place, unsurprisingly he appreciated the exotic language, as he called it, he heard at this set and at many other places at the festival. With a hugely energetic performance Slaves really got the Sunday morning crowd into their set and we both agreed that the raucous Where’s Your Car Debbie was a highlight of a highly enjoyable start to the day.

With not too many acts that I felt I must see it was great to mooch around the site and spend most of the day together, this included a couple of visits to the Greenpeace kids field where my tireless nephew seemed to be setting some sort of world record for number of times going down a slide. Whilst wondering we also caught most of London Elektricity Big Band’s set, which saw the drum and bass producer recreate his tunes accompanied by a big band giving them a new sound. The songs were full of vibrancy and taken to a whole new level which got the whole crowd dancing to yet another superb performance.

joe goddard                       One of my favourite photos from the festival

One of my nephews favourite DJ’s is Seth Troxler so when we saw the house and techno aficionado was playing nearby we had to go see him, although we only stayed for half an hour it was great to have a boogie to someone who we are all into. After watching a bit of Kano I headed over to West Holts for Justice but unfortunately the sound for where I was stood was really poor which meant I just couldn’t get a feel for the set. This did mean I got to see the last half of Metrononmy’s set though which is never a bad thing as every time I’ve seen them it’s always been fantastic and it was great to see them play some of the newer songs live too, making their electro pop majesty a brilliant way to end the weekends music.

I decided to wait a week before writing anything about the festival just to let it all soak in and now I’ve had time to reflect I can certainly say that 2017 has been my favourite Glastonbury so far. This was down to several factors one of which the company and bringing my nephew along as it was great to share this experience as a family and see how much he enjoyed one of my favourite places. The great weather we had also made an enormous difference compared to the extreme mud of last year although even when conditions are bad it is still a wonderful place to be, it’s just simple things like being able to sit on the grass in the sun with a nice cold drink that make things that much better.

It really is impossible to do everything at Glastonbury and I usually just tend to pick a couple of things that I’m going to do and then just see what happens really depending on whereabouts I am as nothing can prepare you for just how vast the site is. Having said this there is no right or wrong way to do the festival and if you like to plan everything there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. After trying for tickets for so long I feel so privileged to have been able to attend four festivals in a row and will hopefully be making a return in two years’ time as 2018 is set to be a fallow year. If anyone reading this has any doubts about going I would advise anyone to try it, as even after doing this piece over five parts I have not even touched the surface and could quite easily so much more about the place, so good luck to anyone trying for tickets on the future and see you in 2019.

mooch

Glastonbury Festival 2017-Saturday 24th June

bsp                      British Sea Power

After resisting the temptation to stay out too late after Radiohead’s glorious performance the previous evening I awoke on Saturday morning feeling only slightly hungover, which is no mean feat considering Fridays level of alcohol consumption. After picking up some breakfast I then did something which I wasn’t expecting and checked out the Depeche Mode tribute act, Speak and Spell. I must say they really surprised and I had a wonderful time hearing some of the songs live as well as being a great start to the day, this was also a perfect opportunity to crack open the first can of the day as a great thing about Glastonbury is that you are allowed to take your own alcohol into the main stages and areas which is a nice change from other festivals. Speak and Spell fired through some of the famous electronic hits that we all know and love however it was their rendition of Enjoy The Silence that garnered the best reaction from a crowd that had been into the gig from the get go.

I then strolled over to the Other Stage and relaxed with a drink while waiting for two consecutive acts that I was really looking forward to, the first of these being British Sea Power. I even made the decision to make it reasonably close to the front which is something I don’t usually do but it wasn’t too crowded and every time I’ve seen this band they’ve been phenomenal so I wanted a good view. From the opening notes of Machineries Of Joy to the aptly titled Waving Flags I was absolutely enthralled with the bands quirky take on indie rock. Having not seen them perform for a couple of years this was one of my favourite gigs of theirs I had seen and it ended perfectly with the glorious The Great Skua which sounded absolutely massive.

wild beasts                               Wild Beasts

After a toilet and bar break I then made my way to the front again for Wild Beasts, who to quote themselves were in fact part 2 of a Cumbrian takeover of the Other Stage. This was a band who I have admired for a long time but have never been able to make it to one of their shows so I was excited for this one and as soon as the heavy bass started rumbling through the audience I knew I would not be let down. Opening with tracks from their latest album the guys immediately hit their stride and made me realise how much I’d been missing my never catching one of their shows before. Their synth heavy sound is right up my street and I love every one of their albums, it is testament to how good the gig was when I could think of several more songs I would like to hear live. However, every tune was immense and they had the crowd moving throughout, I would like to give a special mention to Ponytail which had such a full sound it was close to bursting as well as the sublime Hooting & Howling probably my favourite song by the band so I was ecstatic they played that one.

I then headed over to the Pyramid to see Run The Jewels who had a pretty tough act of following up the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who absolutely packed out the field to the point where I couldn’t even see the screens when I arrived. I don’t claim to be a hip hop expert but there is something about this duo that have always drawn me towards them and it’s no surprise with their big beats as well as inventive and humorous lyrics. Appearing straight after the political figures speech seemed to work really well for Run The Jewels as some people seemed to hang around meaning they had a massive crows for an afternoon slot. You could see how much it meant to them too and the energy they provided onstage radiated towards the crowd meaning everyone witnessing this amazing show seemed to be absolutely loving it and there were thousands of smiling faces around.

joe 2                      Joe Goddard

I then met up with everyone else and we decided to head up to the Glastonbury sign at the top of the hill in the park area of the festival. Even though this was my fourth festival I had never actually gone up the hill before although I was going to do it last year but when I was at the bottom of it I soon realised it would have been hard getting up there in the extreme mud. Being able to get such a good view of the sight was a great way to get ready for heading back down to the park stage where Joe Goddard of Hot Chip was about to perform a solo set. Although I had heard his latest album a couple of times I wasn’t overly familiar with it, but I knew I liked the sound of what I had listened to. I was expecting to enjoy Joe’s set but my breath was absolutely taken away by the sheer majesty of his performance as well as they extremely talented Valentina who provided vocals on some of the tracks. His take on electronica was absolutely sublime and being able to take it all in as a family as well is something I will not forget for a long time as all three of us were having a blast. As Joe got everybody dancing more and more he finally built everything up into the mass crescendo and party feeling that the excellent ending track Home gave proceedings.

Night time was well and truly upon us so I thought going to a Jon Hopkins DJ set on Arcadia, a giant mechanical spider would be a good idea. And I was proved right as Hopkins played an astounding array of tunes and although I haven’t seen hundreds of techno sets I would certainly put it up amongst the best I’ve seen. I stayed at the spider as TQD were playing next and this trio of DJ’s had produced the brilliant UKG album earlier in the year. I think part of what attracts me to TQD is the fact they were all DJ’s so this just seemed to start as three mates having fun which ended up taking on a life of its own. This felt like an absolute journey through dub and bass music and every time the tunes relented, giving you a false sense of security someone else would take over the decks and hit you with a bassline that left you shuddering.

Click here for day 5.

Glastonbury Festival 2017-Friday 23rd June

hacienda                         Hacienda Classical on the Pyramid Stage.

Friday is when the main stages open which means it’s when the big acts start coming in thick and fast, which also meant I had an early start as I was hoping to see the Pyramid Stage openers Hacienda Classical. Graeme Park and Mike Pickering provide the beats accompanied by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra which sees the tunes from this famous club soar to new heights. There was a superbly held minutes silence for the victims of the recent Manchester and London attacks in addition to the Greenfell tower block fire, which provided a poignant start to the day. There were plenty of house classics being dished out as well as cameos from the likes of Peter Hook and Bez, however the set reached its pinnacle on the astounding version of You’ve Got The Love with the powerful vocals of Rowetta.

After grabbing a bite to eat we headed back to the Pyramid to see Blossoms, a band who I may not have seen but I was keen to see someone that my nephew was excited to see as well as seeing that last year’s debut album had received rave reviews. In the end, I was glad I saw their brand of infectious indie pop and was very impresses by their set and could definitely see them moving up the line-up at future festivals. Despite not knowing any of the tunes the infectious hooks and melodies ensured that Blossoms were thoroughly enjoyable before they closed with the bona fide hit Charlemagne.

With not much on the agenda we had a wonder around the theatre and circus fields which is always entertaining highlights included Exception-Elle a hip hop collective whose audience interaction really helped to make everyone feel a part of it. We also chanced upon a guy called Bruce Airhead who bizarrely enough ended up inside a six-foot balloon, while inside he managed to change into an Elvis costume in spectacular fashion. All this is such a fine example of why you sometimes it’s great to just wonder around as you soon become engrossed in something you wouldn’t expect.

Next up was Dutch Uncles on the William’s Green stage, the band only had a forty-minute slot which helped them blast through their great set with an enthralling sense of urgency. Having recently released their fifth album I’m sure Dutch Uncles could have played for much longer however their synth infused indie set was brilliant in addition to being brought to a fantastic close with a funked up version Kiss From A Rose.

I then returned to the Pyramid Stage to see The XX a band who I was stuck in two minds about seeing as I have a chance to see them later in the year, however I made the correct decision as what I witnessed was truly astounding and absolutely blew the crowd and myself away. As soon as the trio strolled onstage and began with the apt tones of Intro they immediately had the entire field in the palm of their hands. As they continued to set a compelling mood with tunes stretched across their three albums The XX then played a rousing version of the Jamie XX song Loud Places which really helped cement this set as a classic. There was a also an endearing humbleness about the band as well as a real sense that they were so pleased to be there which means things like this along with the sheer quality of musicianship and stage presence could certainly see The XX as future headliners.

flags pyramid  The famed seas of flags on the main stage.

I had now seen three acts in one day on the Pyramid Stage which matched the total number of bands I had seen on there in an entire three previous festivals and the next act would take the days number to four meaning I would have seen more people in one day on the main stage than ever before. Not only this but this was the band I was most looking forward to for the whole weekend as well as being the first ever main stage headliners I’ll have experienced at Glastonbury so excitement levels were high. The band I am talking about is of course Radiohead who I had never seen before as the fates have always seemingly conspired against me however being able to see them at one of my favourite places felt like retribution.

Now I’m sure some of you have read mixed reviews of their set I for one found it absolute perfection and following up that performance from The XX made for a glorious Friday evening. Kicking off with the soft tones of Daydreaming which demonstrates the engaging vulnerability which Thom Yorke shows on the bands more introspective moments. The low key opening disappointed some of the more casual fans of which a few started to make their way out, however that gave me a better place I the crowd and I was already loving the set. Everything was building up superbly and I’m not sure if I’ve heard a more perfectly crafted set which really got going with a pounding version of Idioteque. In pure joy across the mass of humanity that was in the field. After ending with Street Spirit Radiohead appeared for an encore which included a chilling version of Fake Plastic Trees which saw many a tear shed in pure joy across the mass of humanity that was in the field. I usually find encores contrived and a bit of a cliché so imagine my surprise as I was over the moon to see them come out for a second encore which finally drew proceedings to a close with the wonderful Karma Police. I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced anything like that last hour of the set which kept rising to another level, which undoubtedly left me thinking Radiohead would definitely be one of the highlights of my festival.

Click here for day 4.