shelleyhanveywriter

'Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences'

Posts Tagged ‘Villagers

O’Brien, Blasket Islands and a clear day of summer

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villagers

Villagers release a third studio album, ‘Darling Arithmetic’ (IRE: April 10th, UK/EU: April 13th, US: April 14th, 2015 via Domino Records) in a couple of months and have given us a taste of what’s to come with the stunning single, ‘Courage’. Few things bring me such peace as listening to Conor J O’Brien…perhaps if I was driving towards Slea Head on a clear day of summer, gazing out across the sea to the Blasket Islands with the track on repeat, this would be the only imaginable improvement to the experience. I fully anticipate this album being a contender for the 2015 Mercury Prize if this track is anything to go by.

Track List
1. ‘Courage’
2. ‘Everything I Am Is Yours’
3. ‘Dawning On Me’
4. ‘Hot Scary Summer’
5. ‘The Soul Serene’
6. ‘Darling Arithmetic’
7. ‘Little Bigot’
8. ‘No-one To Blame’
9. ‘So Naïve’

The band will tour the UK, Ireland and Europe in April/May, 2015 and tickets go on presale this coming Wednesday at 9am (February 11th, 2015) via the official website below.

http://www.wearevillagers.com

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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Written by shelleyhanveywriter

February 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm

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Suffused with a deep neon glow, as you drift softly in to other worlds; tracks from @officialdido @wearevillagers @whiteblushh and Devendra Banhart

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Dido-Girl-Who-Got-Away-2013-600x600

Dido is gearing up to release her first new material in almost five years, with the announcement of fourth studio album ‘Girl Who Got Away’ (set for release on March 4th, 2013).

Dido was the success story of the early 2000s, with her first two albums – ‘No Angel’ (1999) and ‘Life for Rent’ (2003) featuring amongst the best-selling albums in UK chart history. ‘No Angel’ has sold over 21 million copies worldwide to date. If you turned on a radio at any point between 2000 and 2005, you would more than likely have been greeted by a Dido track. Indeed if you saw me at any point during that period you would have been forgiven – and then hugged ever so tightly – for mistaking me for the lady in question; Dido was very much my style icon. In comparison to some of her contemporaries, Dido’s star didn’t wane, she simply chose to step out of the spotlight for a spell after releasing third album ‘Safe Trip Home’ (2008) and began working on tracks for her next record. I see Dido as the metaphorical swan; perfectly poised and at peace, whilst working feverishly hard below the surface.

 

The first single to be released from the album is ‘Let Us Move On’, featuring U.S. rapper Kendrick Lamar. The track is trademark Dido; a soulful piano-based melody overlaying trip-hop beats which Massive Attack would envy. The track and album in general marks a purposeful genre shift for Dido, who has expressed her intention to produce a record with an electronic approach, in an attempt to take her work in a notably different direction to her previous albums. After hearing this, I look forward to the other ten tracks to come.

 

Devendra Banhart releases his eighth studio album ‘Mala’ on March 12th, 2013. The ever-intriguing and experimental folk singer-songwriter has released the album artwork and a new track entitled ‘Fur Hildegard von Bingen’. The track is about a Catholic saint from the 12th century who was also a composer, writer and theologist – who isn’t? No biggie…The backstory is suitably and obligatory bizarre but is also rather wonderful, as is the track.

 

Villagers are set to release their second album {Awayland} on January 14th, 2013. The album is the follow-up to the Mercury Prize-nominated, Ivor Novello-winning debut, Becoming A Jackal’. Conor J O’Brien can’t do much wrong in my eyes and this album is set to stun the critics all over again. {Awayland} features the tracks: My Lighthouse / Earthly Pleasure / The Waves / Judgement Call / Nothing  / The  / {Awayland} / Passing a Message / Grateful Song / In a Newfound Land You Are Free / Rhythm Composer.

White Blush Bandcamp

White Blush has released a debut, self-titled six-track EP. ‘True Luv’ is a particular favourite of mine from the LA-based ambient electronic artist Carol Rhyu. ‘Mirror’ bears more than a lyrical passing resemblance to Lana Del Rey‘s ‘Video Games’; this is perhaps the reason that I was so drawn to the second track, as well as its ability to make the atmosphere around you suffused with a deep neon glow, as you drift softly in to other worlds. An impressive debut from Rhyu.

www.didomusic.com / http://www.wearevillagers.com / www.devendrabanhart.com / www.whiteblushh.com

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm

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/

2010 in review – thanks to all of my readers

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 72 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 128 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 16th with 347 views. The most popular post that day was Festival Fashion 2010 for the girls.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were forums.latitudefestival.co.uk, vfestival.com, facebook.com, forums.leedsfestival.com, and efestivals.co.uk.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for festival fashion 2010, empire of the sun, alan pownall, lauren pritchard, and festival fashion.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Festival Fashion 2010 for the girls June 2010
6 comments

2

Alan Pownall, ‘True Love Stories’ – album review July 2010

3

Competition in conjunction with Zara Taylor Vintage Inspired Jewellery June 2010
1 comment

4

Sublime, deep southern soul; Lauren Pritchard’s new single ‘Not The Drinking.’ September 2010

5

Conor J. O’Brien (Villagers) – talks about and performs tracks from debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal.’ July 2010
1 comment

Thanks to all of my readers and please keep coming back for more of the same in 2011!

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

Spotlight on exciting acts performing at Liverpool Music Week

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The UK’s biggest indoor winter music festival kicks off on 29th October, running through November; welcome to Liverpool Music Week.

The Scouse showcase spectacular began in 2003 and has steadily grown in reputation and stature, to become a nationally recognised event and highlight of the live music calendar. Similar to Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool Music Week features headline and big name acts, whilst also giving a performance platform for emerging talent; indeed, a number of such acts have subsequently gone on to great things after showcasing their wares at this event.

The format is a combination of free and ticketed shows at various venues across the city, including: the Stanley Theatre, O2 Academy, Mountford Hall and The Kazimier.

Headline acts this year include: iconic electronic outfit Leftfield (25th November, Mountford Hall), electronic-dance rising stars Chase & Status (13th November, O2 Academy) and highly acclaimed indie pop-rock stalwarts Efterklang (7th November, O2 Academy). Tickets are available for these shows at the following link: www.liverpoolmusicweek.com.

10 free shows have also just been announced including: Sleigh Bells, Field Music, Egyptian Hip Hop, O Children, Chapel Club, and Los Campesinos! all taking place at MOJO between 29th October – 15th November. Also at MOJO is what will be one of the most anticipated of these free shows; Miles Kane will make his Liverpool solo debut, since his international success with The Last Shadow Puppets. More details on these can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialLiverpoolMusicWeek.

The act I am most excited about however, visits Liverpool fresh from his much deserved Mercury Prize nomination; that act being Villagers. Conor J. O’Brien plays The Kazimier on the 11th December and I am sure that it will be a performance which people talk about long afterwards. With his hushed tones and evocative lyrical imagery, I am certain that you’ll be able to hear a pin drop as he performs tracks from his debut album ‘Becoming a Jackal.’ I will definitely be there, poised and preened ready to hear and catch said pin, before taking it home to savour the memory of being present at one of this amazing artist’s very first shows.

The North West and Liverpool particularly, is brilliant at supporting and showcasing fresh talent from the area and beyond; I think this is so important in the current climate of acts getting signed off the back of one catchy track, then getting ditched when they fail to set the radio waves alight. How is this ever going to be achieved without the support and commitment necessary from their label, their pr office, even their fans? I have recently seen several dedicated and highly talented singer-songwriters be overlooked in favour of the next big thing; should they not deliver the dividends within the allocated timeframe. We need a better and more dedicated live music scene across the UK, to provide a platform for these artists to gain a following, experiment with their sound and be given these kinds of opportunities to perform that are so often reserved for those “in the right place, at the right time.” Rant over!

So if you’re around the beautifully cultured and cosmopolitan Liverpool area in October/November, please pop by and show your support not just for the acts but also for the organisers, the tour managers, the event staff and so it goes on. I guarantee that you’ll have a great time.

Conor J. O’Brien (Villagers) – talks about and performs tracks from debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal.’

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Conor J.O'Brien, of Villagers

Having listened to Villagers’ Mercury Music Prize-nominated, debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal’ quite a few times this week; I was very keen to learn more about singer and creative driving force, Conor J. O’Brien. Luckily enough, I was forwarded a link by a very kind Alicia, at Baeblemusic, to a recent interview and performing session that O’Brien did in The Creative Little Garden in New York.

During the session, O’Brien offers some insight in to his approach to songwriting and the inspiration for particular tracks on the album; as far-reaching as metaphors for life and death, to analysing the profile and poise of travellers on everyone’s favourite mode of public transport, the common bus. He also performs several tracks from the album, including new single ‘Twenty Seven Strangers’, ‘The Pact (I’ll Be Your Fever), and ‘Set The Tigers Free.’

O’Brien speaks about songwriting as a fluid and primitive process; whereby if the writer thinks about the subject or structure too much, they lose the ability to capture the real essence of what they’re trying to say. I can relate to this having completed my degree in the grandiously-titled programme ‘Imaginative Writing, Literature, Life and Thought’; quite often I would turn up to class not feeling especially imaginative or philosophical – it wasn’t easy therefore having to write a 50-line stanza with the theme of ‘Evolution’ in a poorly ventilated classroom at 9am on a Monday morning, against the clock. Somehow I doubt the Bard had to endure such trials in his rise to creative glory…

Villagers are performing at several festivals in the coming weeks, including Leeds and Reading, Electric Picnic and Bestival. I think after their Mercury Music Prize nomination, the crowds will definitely swell in number for this band and rightly so. I look forward to seeing O’Brien and his cohort perform live in the coming months. Ireland has yet again produced another fine creative and songwriting talent.

To view the full session, click below.

http://www.baeblemusic.com/concertvideo/The-Creative-Little-Garden/Villagers.html

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

July 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

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