Mixtape Mondays | Bushstock 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

I am slightly overwhelmed as I write this post. It is hard to believe this is Mixtape #27 or that it's been just over 6 months since that first post from 16th November. I was very much looking forward to a Seafret gig - ok, not much changed in that front - and in the build up to the Communion New Faces Tour I've put together a playlist of the line up: Seafret, Dan Owen, Jack Watts & Flyte. The legacy of that night was having found 4 of my current favourite bands/artists and signing up for the Communion newsletter to literally keep an ear out for anything they put out there. Having said that, I could not miss Bushstock. Not only because it will take me back to St. Stephens Church, in Shepherd's Bush - yes, it is an actual church which doubles up as a super charming venue - but first and foremost because it appeals to me as the best London festival line up if you want to come across new music worth listening to.

If you haven't yet you should definitely check Bear's Den debut album Islands 

In this Mixtape Mondays you'll find some of the artists playing on June 18th. You can also read more about them on the festival's website: www.bushstock.co.uk/line-up. I am very much looking forward to hearing again some of Flyte's new material. The small preview back in February at the Tooting Tram & Social got me very much looking forward to the album. I also can't wait to see Bear's Den and Palace. Ironically, despite both being London bands, I still haven't had a chance to watch them live.

Since I heard Palace's Veins I fell in love with them. Both their EPs, Lost In The Night (2014) and Chase The Light (2015) are incredibly good and it makes one wonder how come they haven't yet released an album. Do check also their latest single Break the Silence, which came out last week. And if you're struggling to understand the concept of alt-country or indie-folk, fear no more, just listen to Bear's Den debut album Islands. It is hard not to compare them to Mumford & Sons, although I find their sound more eerie and Andrew Davie's voice of a soothing quality (and so very different to Marcus' raw and hoarse style).

Mixtape Mondays | Bushstock 2016

Some of the names in this playlist which have intrigued me although I haven't been listening to them for that long are:

Bella Figura - In the most simplistic way, a mix of country and blues with deep lyrics and sad guitars. Do listen to Better Man.

Cape Cub - a.k.a. Chad Male is from Marske-by-the-Sea - yes, I had to google it - There is something really catchy about his music, check The Start and let me know your thoughts.

Júníus Meyvant - I particularly liked Gold Laces by Icelandic folk pop singer-songwriter Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson, from his debut EP titled, very originally, EP.

Pleasure Beach - Their music takes me back to being in my early 20s. It is impossible to stand still, indie rock like I haven't listened to in a long time. It is fresh, but with a heart on that old school vibe that made us dance to Strokes, Killers and Franz Ferdinand.

The Big Moon - Still with a foot on the indie rock 90s front, I challenge you to watch the video below for Nothing Without You and not fall in love with this power pop quartet. They're just brilliant!

More about Bushstock 2016
When: June 18th
Where: Multiple venues, all around Shepherd's Bush
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BushstockFestival
Line up: http://www.bushstock.co.uk/line-up
All early bird tickets are gone, but still some Tier 2 tickets for £32.50 (+£3.25 S/C).

Mixtape Mondays | Acoustic Sessions vol.3

Monday, May 23, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

This is a pretty self explanatory playlist and as it has been a pretty intense week, I thought it doubly appropriate: it is chilled and it doesn't require too much introduction.

I am - still and as you're probably well aware by now - in a pretty folky / acoustic phase and this is another collection of acoustic tracks I came across by some of my favourite bands and some new found artists. I guess the fun factor in this volume 3 mixtape is that because perhaps I got a bit nostalgic listening to We Are Scientists - after the amazing gig at KOKO - Spotify started suggesting some peculiar tracks. One thing led to another and suddenly I'd collated a series of songs I used to listen to over 10 years ago and somehow remind me of the time I lived in America very much.

Chris Cain and Keith Murray have such energy on stage, impossible not to love We Are Scientists live, acoustic or not

I am talking pretty much about the last 10 songs in this playlist: from Lifehouse to Jet, from Maroon 5 to The Cinematics. I know it is sounds a bit random, but hopefully you can also see the connection. And at least the acoustic aspect ties this all together (or one playlist maker would hope so...).

Mixtape Mondays | Acoustic Sessions vol.3

Back to this day and age, we've the likes of James Bay, The 1975 and a song I very much fell in love with when I listened to its acoustic version live at V Festival last year, Jess Glynne's My Love. Last but not least, if you can forgive the cheesiness, I've allowed myself a couple of guilty pleasures: Jason Mraz' I'm Yours and Katy Perry's The One That Got Away are also in this one.

>> Click here for We Are Scientists album at KOKO, in Camden Town

And check Acoustic Sessions vol. 1 and Acoustic Sessions vol.2 on Spotify. 

Mixtape Mondays | Changing Of The Seasons

Monday, May 16, 2016 1 Comments A+ a-

I tend to live for the summer. Sunlight has a pretty special effect on me. I am one of those people whose mood will improve dramatically let there be sunshine. But then, funnily enough, I am also the proud owner of a T with golden leaves which says "Fall in love" and not many things make me as happy as a caramel latte as I walk through a Richmond Park painted in the most beautiful reds and yellows.

Two Door Cinema Club Changing Of The Seasons is such a happy song it had to be the title of this playlist

As you can imagine, I am not a big fan of cold weather (I mean, is anyone?), but there is something about wrapping yourself with a fleece blankie and getting cozy by a fire with a mug of mulled wine which I very much enjoy and look forward to every year. And then, when you've just about had enough of it, you notice the colours coming back, the daffodils breaking through the grass you barely remembered being there in the first place. And there is a certain freshness in the air as you suddenly feel all this energy setting the mood for summer again.

Well, all this talk is simply to justify the theme of this week's mixtape: Seasons. It's fascinating how seasons can affect us. No wonder they inspire so many songs! And you can tell their influence is not only in the lyrics, but in the mood of the tracks. Have a think about it as you listen to Open Season by the High Highs. Vance Joy's Great Summer seems to have been written for you to listen as you sit by the sea. Whilst The Courteeners' Summer seems like the perfect festival soundtrack for those beautiful July sunsets.

Mixtape Mondays | Changing Of The Seasons

Kodaline's After The Fall is the kind of song I'd have on my headphones as I cycle through a park covered in golden leaves. And talking about leaves, Autumn by Paolo Nutini starts setting the mood for the winter in the horizon. No wonder I've chosen to have James Bay's Clocks Go Forward right after it.

"Darkness bleeding in, the sun is getting low
No diamonds in the trees, only leaves of gold
And our long days in the heat haze start to fade

We can hide under sheets, under heavy covers
So deep as the night draws in
And we'll be slow honey lovers 'til the clocks go forward again"

And if you're not convinced by now, try reading the lyrics as you listen to Winter Winds by Mumford & Sons...

"As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
Oh the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms
But if your strife strikes at your sleep
Remember spring swaps snow for leaves
You'll be happy and wholesome again
When the city clears and sun ascends"

There are many more songs in this playlist and many I chose to keep out just because I thought appropriate to have some kind of genre consistency. But fear not, seasons always return and so may this theme very soon... With more tracks to keep you company during summer walks or to keep you warm on those winter nights. Happy listen!

Mixtape Mondays | Songs About The Sea

Monday, May 09, 2016 2 Comments A+ a-

A post by Charlie Hole,
a.k.a @charliehole

I have a strange and natural affinity with the sea. I grew up swimming in the shallows, watching it move, twist and speak through the seasons. I learned to respect its beauty and danger, its mystery and vastness. It was peaceful in the calm, but vicious and dark in storms.

I chose these songs because they all reflect the emotions that flow from the sea, as well as the ways the sea has impacted on our lives in different ways.

Ben Howard's Old Pine encapsulates everything that the sea meant to those who grew up next to it.

Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding, for instance, tells the story of working class shipbuilding communities in the north of England, building warships for the Falklands War. They were saving a dying industry, yet sending their young off to war in the very same ships.

It opens with the line "Is it worth it?", the human cost for the economic gain…

"A new winter coat and shoes for the wife,
And a bicycle on the boy's birthday"

And the immortal line:

"With all the will in the world,
Diving for dear life,
When we could be diving for pearls"

Likewise, The Lake Poet’s Shipyards tells a more personal story of how the shipyards of the north east reminded him of his late grandfather, where he used to work, and how the shipyards are all gone now.

My personal favourite is Randy Newman’s Sail Away, which is a masterpiece of sarcasm, wit and irony, written from the perspective of a North American slave trader trying to sell the idea of America to an African slave. It’s as twisted and funny as it is poignant.

"In America you'll get food to eat
Won't have to run through the jungle
And scuff up your feet
You'll just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day
It's great to be an American"

Mixtape Mondays | Songs About The Sea

Josh Ritter’s Another New World tells of the discovery the sea used to offer sailor’s sailing for the promise of a new world. And what’s not to love about Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic… The sea is as much about going away as it is about coming home.

"When that fog horn blows
You know I will be coming home"

That’s what the sea is to me, it’s home. And no-one puts it better than Ben Howard in Old Pine. Ask anyone who grew up by the sea, these words encapsulate everything that the sea meant to us. Sleeping down the beach, making fires from driftwood, singing, laughing and drinking with friends in "the boom of summertime".

"Careless and young, free as the birds that fly
With weightless souls now"

I’ll always remember the feeling of "Hot sand on toes, cold sand in sleeping bags".

Check out the playlist on Spotify for loads more Songs About The Sea…

More about the Guest Blogger

Mixtape Mondays | Riding Out The Storm

Monday, May 02, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

This playlist started weeks and weeks ago, when I simply couldn't stand the grey weather anymore. Despite not liking it though, there is something about storms which fascinate me. If I have to try to explain it, I will probably say it is due to all the energy in the air. The sound of thunder, the heavy rain on the window, the colours and shapes of lightning, the strength of wind gusts... How can one not be fascinated by such a combo?

Undeniably a guilty pleasure, but most definitely a must have on any playlist with the theme: A-Ha, Crying In The Rain

Anyway, some of these songs are obviously about storms. Others mention it briefly. I've allowed myself to include a few which only mention rain but for me are as good a soundtrack for those grey days: Tom McRae's São Paulo Rain and one of my favourite Ed Sheeran's song, Make It Rain, being two examples.

Another loose license allowed me to add some tracks mostly because they have the sound of rain in the background. A-Ha's Crying In The Rain is a good example of what I mean, but a less obvious choice was Mr. Hudson & The Library Everything Happens To Me. Or, from a Jon Bon Jovi solo album, It's Just Me. I hope you don't think that's me being lazy, but can also see the connection.

Yes, this playlist has a few guilty pleasures. But that's also partially the beauty of being stranded during a storm. In my defence, it is well balanced with the likes of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. As well as some great upcoming artists such as Dan Owen - Riding Out This Storm being one of the most beautiful songs I've heard recently - Chris Belson and Blossoms (who I came across recently but definitely want to listen to more).

Mixtape Mondays | Riding Out The Storm