Stream Dancers Brand New EP on Plastik


It’s always nice when your favourite new band affirms your faith and their talent by at last putting a run of songs together in the more tangible form of an EP or album. In the case of Cardiff, Denbigh, Leeds, London and a few other places’ Dancers, we’d be hard pushed to describe them as a favourite new band, even if with their new EP they may be to you.

The record, titled What You Want I Can’t Get It All But What I Do I Do It All For You has been well over 2 years in the making and the band dates back to a Uni bedroom project in the mind of frontman/songwriter Dafydd Myddleton all the way back in 2010. They played sprinkles of gigs with a full formed band (numbering anywhere from 1-6 people) as the ideas that form the new material began to develop until late 2011, when Daf’s upping of sticks to Canada made the recording and mastering process significantly harder, unsurprisingly.

“This record has actually been a long time coming. We’ve spoken before about being quite spread out over the planet and how it really delayed this release. It turns out that trying to finish a record over email is quite hard after all. “

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Recorded over several months (by a man I’m told, who is merely called ‘Alun’, the lengthened process does show – but not in pragmatic terms, rather in the thoroughly recrafted and honed sound, particularly how well the production matches the mood of the songs. The delayed gratification is all the more satisfying for now long-time listeners but the confidence of the new songs immediately demonstrates to newbies just how long these ideas have been gestating and improving.

As punchily-pavementy brilliant as their early songs were, the tunes here are a step up – confident noise-pop that is affecting yet understated in its melancholic melodies.

You can see them live next week at Four Bars @ Dempseys in Cardiff on Saturday 26th July. It should be a long awaited celebration for fans and friends of the band and having see them perform a free set at Gwdihw in late May, it’s a guarantee it will be worthwhile going. For now – enjoy the EP below or download it to listen at your leisure from www.dancersband.co.uk.

 

Manuel Vason Installation at Fotofringe this weekend

Anyone who has seen the opening weeks of Fotofringe 2014 as it’s kicked off it’s second year – whether in some of the events in CardiffMade or just in cursory glances at some of the startling, often haunting images from Photographers such as Lucy Purrington should be left in no doubt of the superb, often singular aesthetic quality that many of the artists chosen have had.

It should be no surprise then that their upcoming show, held in typically unconventional surroundings in a back lane off City Rd offers an exciting insight into the work of an artist whose work has been variously described as “Nebulous, subversive and unquantifiable” by Dazed and Confused.

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Manuel Vason, who has shown work in Greece, Australia, Brazil and Italy will be creating an installation as part of the Fotofringe festival, entitled ‘The Angel of Hafodunos’. Google-ing Hafodunos presents largely, a series of mournful pictures of a ruined estate in North Wales – of the type that you may see many of across the internet – whether of abandoned theme parks, hospitals or in this case, houses.

This particular house was that of Margaret Sandbach, whose long-forgotten story will be accompanied by the photographs in a book, Margaret Sandbach- ‘A Tragedy in Marble and Ink’, by Mark Baker and Dewi Gregory. Sandbach, described as a ‘lost heroine of the Victorian age’ was a poet, surviving breast cancer and a mastectomy in an age before sophisticated surgery. Her poetry was ‘shot through with visions of angels and death’ and that, as well as her her intense creative bond with sculptor John Gibson are what Vason has tried to explore. The work, referencing Victorian painting styles, retells her story in a series of beautiful, intricate images.

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Looking at how Vason has produced images within and around the derelict building in such a idiosyncratic way – using performative gestures from his subjects to explore the story of Sandbach and perhaps even playing on the ideas of the liminal and lost history that derelict buildings seem to conjure, it is set to be a fascinating installation and one that lives up to the words of Fotofringe organiser Jon Pountney, that it “cements our capacity for attracting exciting, challenging work”.

Rebecca Wyn Kelly, Art in the Warehouse curator says “I am a massive fan of Manuel’s earlier work with artists like Franko B, and I couldn’t believe it when I heard we would be hosting him in our humble warehouse!”.

The show will start on Friday 20th June, at 7pm, behind Milgi, at 213 City Rd. It will then be open from 2-6pm and Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd .

Check out more about Fotofringe at http://fotofringe.tumblr.com/ or on Twitter @fotofringewales

Electronic Music Summit Wales Launches

The Welsh Music Foundation, with support from Arts Council of Wales have just announced a brand new day geared towards understanding and promoting the Electronic scene all across the country, with the Electronic Music Summit Wales taking place at Clwb Ifor Bach all day on July 19. As well as sessions with advice and ideas for DIT (that’s do it together) Electronic artists, how to get music radio ready and keynote speakers, it will hopefully be a timely chance to rouse attention and debate the state of Electronic music in Welsh cities.

EMSW

Looking jealously across the Severn Sea last Friday was enough to pique interest in where Wales (and particularly Cardiff) is as a scene for Electronic music currently. Discounting every venue except one was still enough to make a Welsh resident and Electronic music fan envious, as Colston Hall hosted both EMA and the revered Flying Lotus in one night. The fact that the latter was able to be co-promoted by Bristol’s own free Music Monthly, Crack Magazine is even more of a reminder of both the ready made audience and standing of our similarly sized neighbour. When’s the last time a Caribou or a Jon Hopkins played Cardiff?

Of course, there’s way more to Electronic Music here than whether the tip-top of the electro crops grace our venues – EMSW will also be a chance for artists to circumnavigate promotional problems, network and listen to experts from the scene and doubtlessly it will be a brilliant way to promote what’s happening in Wales already, as well as a great time(for us at the very least) to discover some hidden gems from across Wales. Of our recent foray across Cardiff’s mini festivals, the stand out discovery was finding the fixating, aberrant performances of Y Pencadlys and wondering why the heck we hadn’t already. Hopefully EMSW will be a chance to shine a light on such talents as well as looking at the issues facing such artists and promoters too.

We will be covering the event in full, with interviews and features in the lead up to the event on July 19th, as well as covering some of our favourite Welsh Electronic acts from the ages. Tickets for Electronic Music Summit Wales can be purchased now from eventbrite here and you can check out the snazzy EMSW site for more information below.

http://www.electronicmusicwales.com/

Peski release ‘CAM 1′ compilation

When I heard Peski were bringing out a compilation of some of the stand out Welsh alternative music played on their radio slot, my mind turned immediately to Jacob’s Market. No, they aren’t throwing free copies of it from atop the antique centre sadly, or gladly,  if you don’t like getting hit in the face by excellent Welsh music (you WILL find CAM1′ here) – but my firmly formed ideas of the label/promoters are from seeing Peski shows in there.

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Anyone lucky enough to venture there during Swn Festival, or indeed for any of Peski Records’ wonderful ‘Peski N A C H T’ events last year would’ve discovered a fine array of electronic, experimental and avant-garde artists on show, including the bristling ‘anti-pop’ of Y Pencadlys and R.Seiliog’s part spectral, part murmured kraut-influenced rock. Once you’ve made the three floor climb to the ghostly lit gallery level of Jacob’s for one Peski show, returning for another feels a lot more like you’re being pulled toward something altogether more creepily corporeal – certainly after catching the fixating, aberrant and engaging bleeps of Y Pencadlys; and many of the artists on Peski’s newly released compilation LP, ‘CAM 1‘ hold a similar musically deviant fascination – even down to the pleasant electro-folk of David Mysterious, who, we are led to believe is somewhat of a recluse when it comes to performance.

Not that we want to paint ‘CAM 1′ as a collection of oddities – it is far more than that, but the title of the radio show it comes from gives you an idea of the intrigue that’ll be on offer in it – ‘Cam O’r Tywyllwch’, or ‘A Step From the Darkness’. Peski, along with Gwenno Saunders have been broadcasting the best of the wonderful world of alternative Welsh music along with sounds from afar on this weekly show on Radio Cardiff and Resonance FM since February 2013 and it’s a fine taster of a wider scene, from both established and newer artists. As they say:

“The album’s intention is to provide a platform for music that is often ignored in Wales, and to encourage and inspire more musicians and bands to create something similar.”

Check a taster above, and we will have a full review of CAM 1 next week.

Minifest Month: Gwyl Nyth Fest Interview

This weekend sees Gwyl Nyth Festival at Porter’s in Cardiff as we head for a last hurrah on our extended Minifest month. While it might seem like some time since we reported on Wales Goes Pop, we’ve been catching experimental awesomeness across at Holy Boredom, had a ball enjoying some brilliantly fully formed new music such as HMS Morris at Pili Pala in Swansea and we didn’t even have time to see a packed out Gwdihw host Jealous Lovers & Juxtaposed’s Microfest with its Indie-pop cool.

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If that wasn’t a varied enough plethora of musical enjoyment, Nyth Fest is packing out Porter’s with a stellar cast of Welsh (and English) language gems, including Colorama, who release new album Temari next month and several emerging electronic artists including Carcharorion, following in Y Pencadlys (also playing!) steps in turning electronic flourishes to add melancholy and darkness to Welsh language songs.

Listening to Hiraeth, as a non Welsh-language speaker, got me thinking about how Welsh language music is perceived. There’s no doubting the beautiful effectiveness of the hazy yet glistening sound brought by the subtly shifting electronics, but not understanding the lyrics to such songs adds an immediate mysticism to the mix. It’s something I’d attribute to losing myself slightly to Ifan Dafydd when the DJ played some of his records at Swn Festival in 2012. It’s a undoubted plus (for myself) on tracks like this, but does that do disservice to the songs themselves? Wanting to avoid doing so, it was questions such as these about Welsh language music and particularly promoting events, that I put to Gwyn Eiddor, one of several guys behind the Nyth Record label, ahead of Sunday’s all-dayer.


Q: There’s been so many Minifests in Cardiff over the last month, there’s clearly a demand for events curated in particular ways – is the fact Nyth is Welsh Language artists a good selling point?

There’s a few really great micro-fests happening on Cardiff theese days so there’s obviously a demand for it. In many ways a micro-fest or an ‘all-dayer’ is a more managable way of enjoying loads of great music for musicians, promoters and the public but still provides that festival feel. I would never pigeonhole Nyth as exclusively Welsh language music though, we take all-sorts. Obviously the majority of the artists playing are from the Welsh language scene but we always aim to mix them with all kinds of artists to create an amazing overall lineup.

Above all we pick our artist based on merit rather than language, by coming to a Nyth event you’re coming to see good music, some of it will be sung in Welsh, but it’s still good. You can still have a good time if you understand the words or not!

Q: Do you think there’s enough serious discussion of Welsh language artists in the Welsh media?

There’s fairly good good coverage of Welsh music in the Welsh language media but I do believe that some of the highest quality artists deserve more attention from the English media and press in Wales. Musically they’re on a par with their English language contemporaries therefore it would be advantageous to give them wider acknowledgement.

Q: You’ve put varied types of shows on in Cardiff – what kind of spaces do you look for to suit the artists playing and why?
We look for venues that people can have a good time watching music in them. Porter’s is perfectly suited for the Nyth Festival, there’s plenty of space for a stage outside, and another inside, plus a great whopping long bar with plenty of lovely beers stacked behind it. This year Bobby Smooth will be bringing his Caribbean ‘Ackee Seeds’ cuisine to the festival, firing up some jerk chicken on the BBQ in the courtyard. We’ll also be transforming Porter’s cinema room into an art-gallery.

Porter’s is a great place to hang-out anyway, but dressed with the usual Nyth colours and lights plus that amazing array of artists, Nyth Festival 2014 will be epic.

Q:What’s the main challenges for putting on Nyth/Welsh lang gigs in Cardiff – and Wales generally?
Obviously Cardiff’s bigger population will yield more events than smaller towns and rural areas, having said this there seems to be cool independant events happening all over Wales. ‘Gwyl Gwydir’ in Llanrwst and ‘Gwyl ‘Nol a ‘Mlân’ in Llangrannog are particular favourites of mine. Nyth originates from Cardiff but we’ve put on special events all over Wales, so we might consider hosting an extra Nyth Festival outside the capital in the future.

Q:Who’re you most excited to see play this weekend?
Alun (Nyth’s co-chief) and I picked all the artists so were obviously looking forward to seeing all of them!
Colorama are officially launching their new album ‘Temari’ at the festival so that should be special. I’m also intrigued and excited to see debut performances from ‘Carcharorion’ and ‘Carw’, both acts creating really interesting electronic sounds. Desert Mountain Tribe are stopping at Nyth as part of their UK tour as well.

I’m also really looking forward to seeing the art exhibited by four young talented visual artists; Gwion Christmas, Elin Meredydd, Manon Dafydd and Steffan Dafydd.

The whole lineup is amazing really; you just need to make a day of it!


Gwyl Nyth Festival is at Porters from 2pm-2am on Sunday 25th May. Advance tickets cost just £9 from www.sadwrn.com. The full line up includes – 

YR AYES / CARCHARORION / CARW / COLORAMA / DAN AMOR / DESERT MOUNTAIN TRIBE / Y FFUG / KEYS / KIZZY CRAWFORD / LLWYBR LLAETHOG / Y PENCADLYS / NYTH DJS

DJs
OSH TAL / SPIKES / SGILTI / CARL MORRIS / EL-ROW

Find more info on Gwyl Nyth Festival on the Facebook page here

 

Live Review: Childhood & Rhodri Brooks

Returning to Cardiff for the second time in as many months after a support slot at The Globe with Temples and a raft of NME-induced hype surrounding their hazy and shoegazey take on modern Indie, it would be perhaps forgiven of the audience to anticipate a rawness as Childhood took the stage at Clwb Ifor Bach. The youthful immediacy that previous singles such as Blue Velvet have oozed on record, aligned with the fact they look like The Strokes had swapped instruments and invested in a more summery wardrobe could lead one to surmise the brightness of their early output is a mere adjunct of their fresh-faced age – but to do so would ignore a polished yet sinewy set of intriguing maturity.

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They follow a predictably engaging set from Rhodri Brooks – a captivating live presence around Cardiff who you can also see at Gwyl Pili Pala Fest in Swansea the weekend of  16/17 May. Performing now alongside a live band,  the subtleties of his lo-fi take on Americana to come to the fore with a fullness of sound that matches the defiant and at times, enjoyably melancholic drawl of his bassy vocals.  With a stack of albums already self-recorded, it’s once again a circumscribed treat to enjoy an artist moving at his own languid pace.

Childhood stride on stage looking relentlessly cool, helped no doubt by lead singer Ben Romans Hopcraft’s balmy murmurs which are hypnotically reminiscent of Jim Reid of The Jesus & Mary Chain – especially on ‘Blue Velvet’ where the dark, rich tones of his voice in the verse quickly shimmer when melodically set against the uptempo jangle at the centre of the song. 

Not that they ever seem like an impudent presence – in spite of plentifully-scribed hoopla around their previous singles – many of which seemed destined to be crudely pared into some Spotify festival advertising slice – they aren’t a band who look like they think simply being in a band is cool, rather given the authentic gratitude on show to their influences, they look they want to be – in the best sense, in a cool band.

There’s a pleasing similarity in their melodic sensibility to Tame Impala for example – their best songs share with them overarching opaque yet beautiful tones, built not on throwaway hooks but dreamy songs stretched into fascinating shapes by the expressive bass-led rhythms, set against woozy guitars that on occasion give way to anthemic lilts. Live brings out more of Romans Hopcraft’s subtleties and their sometimes too slightly too eager over-production of his vocals on record dissipates here, giving a purposeful clarity that suits more and more as they begin to thrash up the intensity towards the end of their set, notably on a pleasingly ripped up version of Solemn Skies and others which hint at the scuzzy-summery vibes of Surfer Blood.

It’s no mean feat to display a sound that feels so expansive yet buoyant live, especially in Clwb Ifor Bach’s dingy surrounds and it’s the way they have already balanced such nuances that makes their next moves so intriguing. They may have a plethora of hype-worthy and marketable attributes fitting the media framework around them, understandable given their superficial similarity to all kinds of artists, from Stone Roses to Palma Violets – but their texturous vibrancy feels like their debut LP scheduled for this summer, will be not one of stationary sentimentality, but closer to something more interestingly and indefinably vital.

 

 

Minifest Month: Gwdihw Allstars Present

Tomorrow is one of Plastik’s most keenly anticipated days of the micro festivals that are coming up over the next month. Gwdihw is one of Cardiff’s best venues at putting together a soulfully, finely tuned curated afternoon of music, and this Sunday’s Allstars is getting us very excited. Following on from several hazy afternoons, including a Huw Stephens curated minifest last year, anyone who has previous Bank Holiday visitation to the ‘Hw will know its stellar history for memorable, unique one-dayers.

With the brilliant Ty headlining, amongst a ridiculously strong all day line up, we thought it remiss to not ask some of the artists as well as Gwdihw’s finest spin-smiths to contribute what they thought are Classic bank holiday tunes. Enjoy a carefully curated Bank Holiday Playlist, as put together and described by some of Gwdihw’s finest.

Nakisha Esnard’s Picks

Jon Norris – Jump
Tune from an English guy living in France, This song gets me in the mood to dance, perfect for the kick back attitudes of a bank holiday. I can see this track on in the background creating the finishing touches to a bank holiday BBQ in the garden. His voice is great – melts me every time I hear it. This funky number just gets me bouncing.

Michael Sylvester a.k.a Apple Juice – Heal Me

This track is just simply beautiful. The message in the song, the sounds he creates all compliment each other and then there is his voice, wow! What a beautiful message to send to people and delivered in such a powerful way. Love this song for any occasion but on a bank holiday weekend even more so.

Afrocluster’s Tunes

Orgone – Open Season

We at Afro Cluster are massive fans of this Los Angeles based Soul/Funk outfit. This track features a lot in our journeys to gigs, and especially goes down well when Bank Holiday Weekend arrives.

Roy Ayers – Everybody Needs the Sunshine

It can’t get any better than this for a bank holiday?  Seminal record by a legendary artist.

Afrocluster – Power Moves

This one we actually get to play this weekend! It’s our latest release and it has been going down really well on the dance floor and we are especially excited to play this, at our favourite venue Gwdihw!

The May Duo

Jackie Moore – This Time Baby

Jackie Moore is amazing. This is just such a perfect tune for happy chilled times in the sunshine.

Fat City

Pharoah Sanders – Love is Everywhere

What more to say – Mr Sanders is the Jazzfather.

Bill Withers – Harlem