The Cure Starting with one of the main stage headliners, and whilst it might be obvious to state that you should go and watch this band due to their history and position on the bill...there's more to the decision than that. The Cure are a band who don't tour or play festival shows very frequently, they pick and choose when they want to play and they play those places because they really want too. So expect a setlist full of the old classics and some of the much loved new material. Catch this incredibly influential band whilst you have the opportunity, who knows when they will come around near you again. The Maccabees This may seem like an obvious choice for me, inevitable almost, but beyond the adoration I have for the band since day one it's the fact that they regard Reading Festival as a sort of "home festival". Attending as punters and working their way through the various stages over the years, the band now have their very own headline slot in the Friday night in the Radio 1/NME Tent, and as most Reading and Leeds festival goers know...that's where the real party is. Their huge anthemic tracks, their sing-a-along songs or their pure jump and dance like a fool material will be sure to attract a huge and devoted crowd, this will really be something well deserved and very special. ∆ (alt-J)
My tip for the "band to watch" this year. Every year there seems to be a smaller band with a buzz playing on one of the smaller stages that just attracts a colossal crowd, ∆ (alt-J) will be that band at this year's festival. With their album An Awesome Wave really resonating with critics and first time listeners alike, they are sure to use this performance as a huge springboard for even bigger things. Smart and cool indie rock to fill any void that Wild Beasts have left from now being there this year. Lucy Rose If I've already picked the "band to watch" this festival, the "artist to watch" will be Lucy Rose. Already holding a very loyal and adoring fan base in the palm of her hand after being a recording and touring member of Bombay Bicycle Club for some years, touring her solo stuff relentlessly and now finally announcing a debut solo album, Lucy Rose is set to join the ranks of delicate and innovative indie-folk inspired music alongside Laura Marling.
The Cribs Another band who have played these festivals for years and years, working from the smallest stages right up to the main stages and now one of the closing acts on the Radio 1/NME tent. Playing almost as many times as Dave Grohl has appeared at the festivals, it's a huge pay off and their raw, loose, and inspired indie-punk-rock will be one of the most energetic and fun shows of the weekend.
Graham Coxon From playing the huge Hyde Park gig with Blur not a week ago, to know playing the sweaty tent at Reading and Leeds, Graham Coxon is ready to unleash his latest (and superb) material from the album A+E. Snotty, punky, beautiful, witty and experimental all at once. A true Great British guitar hero who should be celebrated and adored by everyone this weekend. Theme Park After making big waves following their support slot on the recent Bombay Bicycle Club UK tour, Theme Park are really starting to create a name for themselves and carve their own niche. Sounding like Talking Heads meets The Smiths with TV On The Radio thrown in for good measure, this is the band to enjoy watching whilst sipping an ice cold beer and enjoying the afternoon sun. Catch them now before they really explode.
Bombay Bicycle Club After last year's incredibly successful and over-packed set on the Radio 1/NME stage at Reading Festival it was obvious that Bombay Bicycle Club had to hit the main stage on their next appearance and not only that, but be very high up on the bill. Rumoured to be the last performance with Lucy Rose too, if there was one band to let loose, go crazy, swig beer and soak up the early evening with, it's Bombay Bicycle Club. There's nothing quite like tens of thousands of people singing back "Always Like This" to Jack Steadman and co.
Bombay Bicycle Club
October 10 2011
Bombay Bicycle Club’s third album, A Different Kind Of Fix, has been met with great praise from journalists, fans and new listeners alike. Following many festival appearances this year to record breaking crowds, it makes sense that the band head out on their biggest UK headline tour yet. Their previous tours have always provided something interesting for the attendees, whether it’s playing small venues packed to the rafters or setting out on a tour of churches and historic buildings, so it’s immediately interesting to know the material and set up they have for this tour, particularly as they have three such diverse sounding albums.
Opening act, Theme Park, were an unexpected surprise. Their single, “Wax” had been getting some airplay and a warm reception, but there isn’t an abundance of material to follow them up on, so there was an air of intrigue about the venue as they took to the stage. It’s safe to say that the band easily has a stock full of superb tunes and received love and applause from the crowd, which doubled in volume as each song finished. Managing to mix the sound of TV On The Radio with Morrissey and The Beach Boys whilst maintaining a raw and loose sound, they left the room wanting more, which for a relatively new and “unknown” (by comparison to the headliners) band is the biggest kind of compliment. I, for one, cannot wait to see what they record and release next.
Dry The River was the second support act and the floor was packed with a clearly devoted fan base. The band ran through their set for their adoring fans and sounded impeccable live. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t seem like the band has anything drastically new to offer and whilst they play extremely well and are clearly loved by many, I was left feeling like they provoked no reaction at all for me which may have been more noticeable after the exciting sound of Theme Park.
As soon as that piano loop from “Shuffle” fades in and the band walk on stage, the crowd erupts and as the new album’s lead single takes off, Bombay Bicycle Club immediately has the entire room in the palm of their hand. Jack Steadman’s vocals continue to improve and excel with each tour, each release and each moment. The entire band clearly enjoy playing live and whilst always displaying an astonishingly tight sound and air of confidence, flashes of humble and grateful smiles never cease to shine as they catch the crowd singing back every single word.
With 9 out of 20 songs on the setlist being from A Different Kind Of Fix, there is plenty of time for fan favourites such as “Evening/Morning”, “Open House” and even tracks from acoustic album Flaws such as “Ivy & Gold” and “Rinse Me Down”. Needless to say, this means that every fan in the room was spoiled, hearing a song from every period of the band’s life aired and played at full force. It’s a given that “Always Like This” will bring the house down (to enforce a cliché) and the volume of the audience as they sing back at the band is brilliantly deafening, but it’s the performance of "The Giantess/Emergency Contraception Blues" with a new angelic vocal interlude by Lucy Rose which ends up being truly mind-blowing. However, it's Steadman’s return to the stage with Lucy Rose to perform piano-led track “Still” which evokes the most noticeable reaction…silence. Impossible to not be drawn into the delicacies and vulnerability of the vocals and the song, everybody is left in awe.
Bombay Bicycle Club continue to prove why they are one of The UK’s best band’s around at the moment with their arsenal of songs which span genres, a flawless live show and an genuine love for their fans. This is a band who are only just entering their prime and should be taken notice of at any given opportunity.
Produced by Markus Dravs, known for producing the past two Arcade Fire albums, this album sees The Maccabees elevate themselves from catchy and quirky, right into the heavyweights of British alternative music. The combination of Orlando Weeks' almost old-school, irresistable crooning vocals over the top of intricate layers of swelling guitars, endless bass hooks and energetic drums is a perfect marriage. This is an album which manages to balance pop sensibility with substance, atmosphere and heartfelt lyrics. It's hard to not be touched by the album or the songs, the openness and the dexterity on show or the subtleties and unexpected angles. An absolute favourite of mine and will always be. Key Tracks: "Love You Better", "No Kind Words", "William Powers", "Seventeen Hands"
Laura Marling-I Speak Because I Can (2010)
This second effort from Laura Marling not only matches the high bar she set with her debut, but it clears it by miles. A collection of beautifully delicate and enchanting folk songs that feel like they were recorded straight to vinyl in front of a log fire in a cottage. Laura Marling's voice feels even more intimate on this record, deeper and more assured. She manages to reel you in so close with her vocals, verging on whispers at times, as she tells tales of Greek mythologies, England's Winter and wartime love letters. Maintaining a true folk sound throughout, this album also adds lush strings, piano and banjo parts into the mix which make it feel fuller and more complete than her debut. An album you won't want to stop listening to over Winter. Key Tracks:"Made By Maid", "Blackberry Stone", "Alpha Shallows", "No Hope In The Air"
Blur- Best Of (2000)
Yeah, a compilation. This is easily my favourite Blur album, and that's coming from somebody who has been a fan before I'd even reached 10 years old. All of their albums are great of course, but their progression through their various different stages and sounds deserves to be taken in all at once on this brilliant mix. Showcasing material from their releases between 1990-2000, it's hard to not either fall in love all over again or for the first time with this band. Consistently brilliant and accessible pop music, there's everything here from anthemic and heartfelt sing-a-longs to fast and loose rock or American influenced drones. Showcasing influences from the likes of The Smiths, The Stones Roses and Stephen Malkmus, it's a must have in anybody's record collection. Key Tracks: "Beetlebum", "The Universal", "Tender", "Girls & Boys", "Coffee and TV"
Jamie T - Panic Prevention (2007)
"Like no other record since The Streets - Original Pirate Material, it’s the sound of a pirate radio station you wish existed: a rag-bag of ska-punk, junk-shop hip-hop, DIY drum'n'bass and vocal interludes sequenced to flow like a mix-tape. On first listen, scrappy-sounding and instinctive, but 20 spins later, still pulling new tricks." - NME, I couldn't have said it better. It's so British in it's sound, particularly because of Jamie's distinctive voice but also the stories of the youth of Britain - binge drinking, fights, clubs, nostalgia, friends and love, at the same time there's something for everyone on this record. Key Tracks: "Brand New Bass Guitar", "Calm Down Dearest", "Operation", "Sheila", "Pacemaker", "If You Got The Money"
I've been a member of staff for a few weeks now so it seems "right" to start a blog on here. I've attempted blogs before outside of the site on Wordpress and whatnot, but the only people that read them were those that I spoke to daily and more often than not, about the subjects I posted anyways. Really a superfluous outlet (if it can even be considered one). So at least here, if it is read at all, it can be relevant to what I contribute to the site as a member of staff now, music and film recommendations people may bother to check out that I don't speak to or know personally, rants about things (highly likely) and information on my personal projects to do with 7Ravens Record Label (we'll get to that).
So as an introduction:
23 years old
Live in Kent, England but a lot of my time is spent in London or Norfolk
Studying music production and music business part time in London
Co-founder of 7Ravens, home of louellen
Music and movies I like can be seen on my profile