shelleyhanveywriter

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Posts Tagged ‘Bombay Bicycle Club

From Bombay to Louisiana, via Manchester; my top music picks of the week

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In honour of my favourite season: that of the summer holiday,  I have compiled a selection of hot and hazy tracks worthy of inclusion in any First Class music lounge…so sit back,  put on your fuzzy felt eye mask and allow yourself to be whisked away from Bombay to Louisiana, via Manchester.

Bombay Bicycle Club, Shuffle

A Different Kind of Fix‘ is the upcoming third album from London-based alternative folk-rock band Bombay Bicycle Club. ‘Shuffle is the first track to be released from the album, which follows on August 29th, 2011. Following the acoustic and accolade-laden offering of second album, ‘Flaws‘, the four-piece have returned to their electric-stringed roots, whilst never straying too far from their trademark blissful electronic- folk leanings. The soaring and atmospheric synth sounds of ‘Shuffle‘ are the perfect soundtrack to a lazy day on a sundrenched beach, or indeed a lazy afternoon indoors after getting drenched down your local high street…this is the ‘great British summer’ after all.

Michelle Branch, Loud Music

My love for Michelle Branch all started in Season 6, Episode 8 of one of my favourite TV series, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘. Branch makes an appearance at the end of the highly emotive episode, to perform her track ‘Goodbye to You‘ as Giles leaves for England, Tara leaves Willow and Buffy leaves her senses, embarking on a doomed affair with resident badboy vamp Spike. I loved the track and Branch’s raspy and powerful country-tinged vocals, so I set about researching the artist and have never looked back. After two top selling albums, ‘The Spirit Room‘ and ‘Hotel Paper‘, Branch moved in a more defined country direction to form a duo with friend and fellow musician, Jessica Harp; The Wreckers. But now, fresh from putting down roots both family and home, she is back with the perfect summertime roadtrip track ‘Loud Music.’

The track documents the history of a relationship, starting with the first meeting and going through all of the highs and occasional lows, all the while using artists such as Hendrix and Zeppelin as flags or pinpoints throughout the narrative. Branch has always managed to successfully translate her great love of music through her own lyrics and regularly cites her influences through this medium. So if a destination only reachable via a trip down a few dusty highways is more your idea of a perfect holiday, then be sure to wind the windows down and blast out this perfect slice of American pop-rock.

The Travelling Band, Sundial

I recently reviewed Friends of Mine Festival for eFestivals.co.uk and had the pleasure of catching a performance by The Travelling Band whilst I was there. Cited as the best folk band to emerge from Manchester, the five-piece performed their upcoming single ‘Sundial‘ which was definitely a hit with the somewhat windswept and watery crowd. The orchestral splendour of this track cannot be underestimated and is truly addictive; I think this band will be filling headline slots on the folk circuit very soon. It’s nice to see some local folkies flying the flag for the genre up North.

Patrick Wolf, House

Patrick Wolf intrigues me; he is an intriguing character, one that you could listen to and watch for hours almost as if in a daze. His vocals intrigue me; the depth of his tone commands that you listen and his lyrics command that you hear. He cites poets and speaks romantic declarations and all of this set against an epic and enticing melody. I’ve said enough, I implore you listen and you start with ‘House.’

Friendly Fires, Hawaiian Air

Pala‘ is the recently released second album from alternative dance trio, Friendly Fires. ‘Hawaiian Air‘ is the second track to be released from the album. This band just keep going from strength to strength and have just this week released more dates on their biggest headlining tour of the UK, coming in the autumn. With its holiday flight-inspired music video, ‘Hawaiian Air‘ is all set to be the scorching hit of the summer radio waves. The rest of the album is just as good I might add, so I’d definitely recommend that it feature on your holiday pool-side playlist.

Britney Spears, I Wanna Go

Ah, Britney. Where do I start…well, I’m a huge fan and have loved every track that the Louisiana popstrel has ever released so I’m just putting it out there – if you’re looking for an unbiased review of the artist, scroll up and scroll out! ‘I Wanna Go‘ is genuinely one of my favourites off Spears’ new album ‘Femme Fatale‘, my other pop pick being the Will.I.Am penned track ‘Big Fat Bass.’ The video to accompany this track has just been released on Spears’ official website and on YouTube/Vevo and is a lot of fun. I think Spears has reached the point – perhaps understandably – were she just wants to enjoy herself in her career and this translates in her work; the videos aren’t meant to be groundbreaking, they’re meant to highlight the light-hearted, cheeky and self-depracating character of the performer and that they do. The new album is a dancer’s dream, filled with huge basslines, biting beats and catchy choruses. I’ve just secured myself tickets to see Spears in Manchester on her upcoming UK Tour…needless to say, I am just a little excited!

That’s all for now, happy holidays! 🙂

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56th Ivor Novello awards – nominations just released and common sense has prevailed

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The nominations for the 56th Ivor Novello awards have been released today and common sense appears to have been restored. After Lily Allen’s triple win last year, I found myself uttering my trademark catchphrase of late; “I’m lost, if I’m honest?!” There will no doubt be countless fans of Allen who agreed wholeheartedly with the judges’ choices, but I unfortunately was not one of them.

The Ivors are presented annually:

to celebrate, honour and reward excellence in British music writing. The awards either celebrate artistic excellence in a specific work, exceptional performance figures in the award year or recognise the outstanding achievements of a particular songwriter or composer throughout their career.

There are seven categories in total, as well as a number of special prizes to be announced on the night (May 19th, 2011 at London’s Grosvenor House), that include: ‘International Achievement‘, Ivors Inspiration Award‘, ‘Outstanding Songwriter/s of the Year‘ and ‘Lifetime Achievement.’ The top songwriting gongs are:

Best Song Musically and Lyrically(2010 Winner – Lily Allen, ‘The Fear‘)

The nominations are:

Villagers, ‘Becoming a Jackal‘, written by O’Brien, published by Domino Publishing Company.

Everything Everything, ‘MY KZ, UR BF‘, written by Higgs, Pritchard, Robertshaw and Spearman, published by Universal Music Publishing.

Foals, ‘Spanish Sahara‘, written by Bevan, Congreave, Gervers, Philippakis and Smith, published by Universal Music Publishing.

‘Best Contemporary Song’ (2010 Winner – Bat for Lashes, ‘Daniel‘)

The nominations are:

The xx,Islands‘, written by Croft, Qureshi, Sim and Smith, published by Universal.

Katy B,Katy on a Mission‘, written by Benga, Katy B and Geeneus, published by EMI.

Tinie Tempah, ‘Pass Out‘, written by McKenzie, Okogwu and Williams, published by EMI/Stellar Songs Ltd.

Album Award‘ (2010 Winner – Paolo Nutini, ‘Sunny Side Up‘)

The nominations are:

Bombay Bicycle Club, ‘Flaws, written by Jack Steadman, published by Imagem Music.

Everything Everything, ‘Man Alive‘, written by Higgs, Pritchard, Robertshaw and Spearman, published by Universal.

Plan B, ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks‘, written by Benjamin Drew, published by Universal.

For more information on the other award categories, please visit www.theivors.com

I have a  few favourites amongst these and it is very pleasing to see a bit of folk-rock included in the proceedings; Villagers and Bombay Bicycle Club would be my top choices, so I shall have everything crossed for Conor and the boys on the night itself.

That is all 🙂

2011 UK Music Festivals; what constitutes a headline-worthy artist?

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I think we’ve pretty much seen the majority of what the UK Music Festival scene has in store for us this year, but I’ve had cause to wonder; what constitutes a headline-worthy artist? Are record sales the main criterion; perhaps international or tabloid appeal, or could it be something else?

It has always been my opinion that those festivals which consistently perform well with ticket sales, are those which have a clear brand identity and generally, a niche market; Leeds and Reading Festivals, Cambridge Folk Festival, Glastonbury and T In The Park being prime examples. I suppose it isn’t  rocket science really – if you cater to a specific section of the gig-going public, provide the artists and bands that  they want to see, at a price they can afford, how can you go wrong? But so many appear to do just that. Looking at some of the festival line-ups for 2011, I’ve felt largely underwhelmed and uninspired, with only a select few pricking my curiosity to find out more. Admittedly, music tastes are subjective and entirely personal to the ticket-holder, but when the ‘big five’ (V Festival, Glastonbury, Leeds Festival, Reading Festival and T In The Park) music festivals in the UK are charging relatively similar weekend prices, how can a couple of them defend their line-ups against their peers?

Of course, a music festival is about much more than just the music; the location has to be just right, as well as: accessibility, on-site facilities, entertainment, catering, toilets, general crowd atmosphere and the list goes on. Can a perfect ten in all of these criteria however, really make up for a poor line-up? Is a great festival weekend about who you’re with, not where you are; would you trade six good medium-stage acts for one great main stage act?

The UK Festival Awards 2010 announced the following winners late last year:

Best Small Festival in association with Doodson Entertainment – Kendal Calling

Best Medium Festival in association with Smirnoff Flavours – Green Man Festival

Best Major Festival in association with Tuborg – Bestival (see photo above)

Line-Up of the Year in association with XL Video – Rockness

Bestival is a boutique music festival, which takes place at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight. The four-day spectacular which promises to inspire ‘peace, love and dancing’, is curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Rob Da Bank. This year, the festival takes place on the 8th – 11th September 2011 and is set across 15 stages, offering the likes of The Cure, Pendulum, Primal Scream, Kelis, Robyn, PJ Harvey, Noah and the Whale, The Unthanks and Groove Armada. It would be fair to say that the line-up is a mix of folk fusion and boutique chic and the festival site promises ‘an original boutique camping experience, cocktail bars, fancy dress and a hidden disco.’ I think the fact that the festival has always promoted itself as being particularly family friendly hasn’t hurt; children enjoy music too, it isn’t all about the beer tokens people! To find out more about Bestival, please visit the link below.

Green Man Festival takes place on the 19th-21st August 2011 (the same weekend as V Festival, but tailored to an entirely different audience) in the Brecon Beacons. The festival is aimed specifically at the folk and electronic indie- loving public and again, is very welcoming to families with children of all ages; indeed, under 12s get in free. Highlights on the line-up this year include: Fleet Foxes, The Low Anthem, Bellowhead, Explosions In The Sky, The Burns Unit and Villagers. I think that I would enjoy this particular festival; I love folk and electronic music and I love a beautiful scenic environment in which to camp and lounge. To find out more about Green Man Festival, please visit the link below.

Kendal Calling takes place on the 29th-31st July 2011 in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District. This is an independent festival, combining contemporary music and art with rural entertainment. I think it would be a fair assumption to say that this festival largely caters to a somewhat younger demographic than the former two; particularly with regards to the line-up, which this year includes: The Cribs, Blondie, Chase and Status, Echo and the Bunnymen, Levellers and Young Knives.  The festival also offers dance, comedy and new music stages. For more information on Kendal Calling…you know what to do.

Out of the ‘big five’ headlining acts this year, my favourite would have to be Glastonbury (22nd-26th June 2011): Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce. The brilliance of these choices lies in the fact that there will probably be something for everyone here. The acts are diverse enough to attract wider audiences, yet remain true to what a great headliner should be – an act that commands your attention, whether that be by dividing the audience right down the middle or uniting everyone with one memorable anthem that will go on to sum up the entire weekend.

Taking in to account the line-up in its entirety however, I would have to opt for Latitude Festival as my favourite(14th-17th July 2011). The mix of folk, electronica, comedy, poetry and the spoken word could have been tailored specifically with me in mind. I would pay to see the majority of the acts on the billing, including: The National, Bombay Bicycle Club, Caribou, The Duke and the King, Foals, Hurts, KT Tunstall and Rumer , as well as the fantastic stand-ups on offer including Alan Carr and Omad Djalili . Plus it also takes place on my birthday weekend!

Whichever UK festival you choose to visit this year, I wish you good weather and great memories 🙂

www.festivalawards.com / http://www.vfestival.com/ / http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/ / http://www.latitudefestival.co.uk/ / http://www.leedsfestival.com/ / http://www.readingfestival.com/ / http://www.tinthepark.com/ / http://www.greenman.net/ / http://www.bestival.net/ / http://kendalcalling.co.uk/ http://www.rockness.co.uk/

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